The Supreme Court on 5 December sought a response from internet majors Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and Facebook on a plea seeking curbs on sharing of sexually offensive videos on social networking sites and steps to check cyber crimes. A bench of justices MB Lokur and UU Lalit issued notice to these companies and sought their reply on the plea by 9 January.
Advocate Aparna Bhatt, appearing for petitioner NGO Prajwala, said that rape videos are shot and posted on social networking sites and internet companies should take steps to curb such cyber crimes. Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh, representing the Centre, detailed the steps taken by the Union home ministry and CBI which is the nodal agency for cyber crimes.
He said the debate over making public the names of sexual offenders is on in India and abroad and whatever decision is taken in this regard will be implemented. To this, the bench said that if the names of sexual offenders are to be made public then it should be done only after conviction in the offence, not just after the case is lodged. "It will tarnish the image of a person, if he is acquitted in the sexual offence case," it said.
The bench also directed that if the state police find nothing against a person after probing a sexual offence case, then CBI will not interrogate that person with regard to the cyber crime aspect related to the offence.
"If the police give clean chit to Mr X in a sexual offence case, then CBI should not say to Mr X that we want to interrogate or examine you with regard to cyber crime aspect related with same sexual offence. This is because the police have found nothing against him with regard to the offence," it said.
It also directed the Centre to include steps to curb sexual violence against children in the list of measures to be taken for curbing crime against women. "As per the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data there is sharp rise in cases of sexual violence against children," it said.
The court was hearing a letter sent to then Chief Justice of India HL Dattu by Hyderabad-based NGO Prajwala along with two rape videos in a pen drive. It had taken suo motu note of the letter on the posting of these videos on 'WhatsApp' and had asked the CBI to launch a probe forthwith to nab the culprits.