PIL on child porn site ban: Supreme Court seeks DoT reply

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SummaryThe PIL has sought a complete ban on websites with child pornographic content.

The Supreme Court on Monday sought a response from the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) on blocking websites with pornographic content, especially those featuring child pornography.

Hearing a PIL in the case, a bench led by Justice B S Chauhan issued a notice to the DoT after the government said it was the appropriate department to examine whether such websites could be blocked.

Additional Solicitor General Indira Jaising told the court that the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, which was earlier issued a notice, was only concerned with content on radio and television. She said regulation of websites would come under the ambit of the DoT. The bench has asked the DoT to reply to its notice within three weeks.

At an earlier hearing, the government had listed the difficulties in banning international pornographic websites, maintaining that their servers were positioned globally and the Indian laws may not be applicable to them. It had sought time to consult various ministries to find a solution.

The PIL, filed by Indore-based advocate Kamlesh Vaswani, has sought a complete ban on websites with child pornographic content. Citing lack of laws to regulate such websites, the petition says children are accessing sexual content that is “graphic, violent, brutal, deviant and destructive”, putting the entire society in danger. “Most offences committed against women/ girls/ children are fuelled by pornography. The worrying issue is that the severity and gravity of such images is increasing. It is a matter of serious concern that pre-pubescent children are being raped,” it added.

The petition also referred to the December 16, 2012, Delhi gangrape case in which a 23-year-old paramedical student was brutally assaulted and gangraped by six persons, leading to her death.

Meanwhile, there are reports that Google and Micr-osoft will put in place measures to block such content from search results. The changes will prevent 100,000 search terms from generating results that link to images and videos associated with child sex abuse and trigger a warning that the content is illegal. “The restrictions, which apply to English-speaking cou-ntries, will be expanded to 150 languages in the next six months,” Google chairman Eric Schmidt wrote in an article for the Daily Mail on Sunday.

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