New Delhi : The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Centre to file a comprehensive and detailed status report about the progress of an online cyber crime reporting portal to block videos of sexual offences on social sites.
A bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and U U Lalit said it would be in the interest of all concerned, if a central reporting mechanism was set up to stop cyber crimes.
“We would like to have a comprehensive and detailed status report from the Ministry of Home Affairs informing us about the progress made, keeping in view the fact that there is a road map already indicated in the affidavit dated December 1, 2015 and other subsequent affidavits. The status report will deal with all these issues in a comprehensive manner,” the bench said. The Centre informed the top court that the launch of the beta version of this portal was expected in the last week of April.
“It is also stated that connectivity of the portal has been tested with Maharashtra, Kerala, UP and Chandigarh. The process is underway to establish connectivity with all other States/UTs and efforts have been made to integrate as many States as possible before the launch date.”
“Our attention has also been drawn to the recommendation made by the Committee against proposal … which is to the effect that there is a need for a Central Reporting Mechanism as has been done in other countries, particularly in the United States. Orally, we have been told that some progress has been made in this regard, but this is a very scattered sort of submission made before us,” the court noted.
During the hearing, the top court was informed by counsel for the parties that there are several other ministries like Ministry of Women and Child Development which were interested in taking corrective steps in so far as cyber crimes are concerned, especially those relating to rape, gang rape and child pornography.
The bench also made it clear that the proceedings will be held in-camera on on May 11, the next date of hearing.
The apex court was earlier informed that the Ministry of Home Affairs has identified keywords for child pornography, rape and gang rape content search and a list of keywords in English language has been compiled and circulated to content providers for further action.
It had earlier directed the Centre to have a web portal ready by today to enable citizens lodge complaints on child sexual abuse, child pornography and gang rape videos.
The court was hearing the matter following a letter sent in 2015 to then Chief Justice of India H L Dattu by Hyderabad-based NGO Prajwala, along with two rape videos in a pen-drive. The court had on its own taken cognisance of the letter and asked the CBI to launch a probe to apprehend the culprits.
Earlier, cyber security officials, functioning under the CBI, had told the bench that the internet was a “wild highway” and blocking objectionable content at the source was a technical challenge for which clear guidelines needed to be issued to stop circulation of such material.
The NGO’s letter had also mooted the idea of maintaining a national sex offenders’ register which should contain details of persons convicted for offences like eve-teasing, stalking, molestation and other sexual assaults.