The Supreme Court on Friday sought a response from the information technology ministry on how the latter can assist in the reporting and blocking of rape videos circulated on social networking websites under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
The social justice bench of Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice Uday Umesh Lalit sought the response from the ministry after social activist Sunitha Krishnan told the court that there has to be a defined place where one could report about such rape videos and seek their blocking.
Sunitha, who runs â€˜Prajwala,â€™ an NGO which is engaged in rescue and rehabilitation of victims of sex trafficking, told the court that besides the nine complaints the CBI was investigating, she has another 90 cases but there was no single authority to which she could go to lodge a complaint for follow-up action for blocking such videos from circulation.
"Some measures have to be taken for reporting of matters under Section 19, 20 and 21 of the POCSO Act," the court was told.
The crackdown on such videos started after a letter sent by the Hyderabad-based NGO along with two rape videos in a pen drive that showed a man raping a woman and another man filming it.
Taking a strong view against circulation of sexual violence videos on popular messaging services and hosting them on social networking sites, the special social justice bench took suo motu cognizance of the letter after the Hyderabad police failed to trace the accused.
The court then ordered the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to investigate the videos in February.
The CBI made its first breakthrough in May when it arrested a property dealer from Bhubaneswar and his associate.
Another major arrest occurred in May in Bengaluru where the CBI used cyber forensics software and interface with multiple internet service providers and ascertained the identity of people who had uploaded the sex video.
Sunitha also told the court that social network sites do act on complaints made by her and block circulation of videos showing rape, but she urged the court to put in place some temporary arrangement where one could go and lodge a complaint.
Seeking a multi-disciplinary agency, Sunitha said the IT ministry could help in blocking such videos.