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Gang Rape Videos : SC Notice To Face Book, Google, Yahoo, Microsoft

The Supreme Court today issued notice to internet majors Facebook,Google, Microsoft and Yahoo seeking their view on blocking explicit sexual clips including gang rape videos.

A bench of justice Madan B Lokur and justice U U Lalit wanted to know their view on how to end rampant circulation of such clips on the internet, if they could block them and immediately report it to the investigating agency.

The bench, which has gone through the affidavits filed by the ministry of home affairs and CBI on the issue said it will issue a slew of orders regarding cracking down the rampant circulation of gang rape videos and before that wanted the “social media and online sites also in the court to ascertain the view as the orders might effect them”.

The court’s order came in a PIL where social activist Sunitha Krishnan of the #ShameTheRapistCampaign fame who received nearly 200 rape videos sent by victims has demanded an agency with a pan-Indian jurisdiction to investigate those and a direction to Centre to the social media. CBI has already been entrusted with the probe.

The Home Ministry had said in an affidavit that it has initiated steps to set up 150 specialised units to investigate crimes against women.

“In order to tackle cyber crimes comprehensively, MHA has already set up an expert committee to recommend a road map for tackling the menace”, it said.

As per the expert committee recommendation, a proposal has been initiated to set up Indian Cyber Crime Co-ordination Centre. But the bench wanted to know what the status of all these plans was now and if anything had been implemented or it was still in the shape of a mere “proposal”.

THE CBI’S STAND

In its affidavit, the CBI urged the Supreme Court that it be given a free hand in investigation and prosecution of the perpetrators.

The agency’s response came in a PIL where social activist Sunitha Krishnan of the #ShameTheRapistCampaign fame who received nearly 200 rape videos sent by victims has demanded an agency with a pan-Indian jurisdiction to investigate those.

“It is imperative in the interest of justice that there is a single central institutional mechanism to address cases relating to video recordings of incidents of sexual violence against women and children circulated through the internet. The CBI is prepared to take up the requisite responsibility”, said an affidavit filed by the CBI. The court will take a stand on the affidavit next Monday.

“Virtually seamless cross-jurisdictional character of internet has raised a real challenge to law enforcement agencies. Apart from anti-corruption crimes CBI can also take up specialized crimes having all India or inter-state ramifications or of particular importance from the social point of view. The CBI is the only central law enforcement agency that can investigate and prosecute any heinous crime anywhere in the country”, it said.

This article has been made possible because of financial support from Independent and Public-Spirited Media Foundation.

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