Child Pornography: Karnataka HC Issue Directions to Curb the Matter

Child Pornography: Karnataka HC Issue Directions to Curb the Matter

July 24, 2020, Friday

Anjana Gopinath

The High Court of Karnataka has issued a set of relevant directions in the matter of pleas regarding the issue of child pornography in child care institutions. A Division Bench of the High Court comprising of Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice M Nagaprasanna has issued an extensive range of directions which include guidelines to curb child pornography and to formulate a child protection policy.

The Petition was filed by Advocates Pranay Sharma and Dalwai Venkatesh, who prayed for the formulation of guidelines in the matter of curbing child pornography. The Court while addressing the plea, took regard of and observed the insensitive attitude taken by Police Officers in dealing with cases related to the issue, and thereby stated that “… it will be appropriate for the State Government to issue a Standard Operating Procedure for dealing with the cases of child pornography so that proper investigation is carried out in such cases.

The High Court, while addressing the issue of missing children, relied upon the Supreme Court’s decision in Sampurna Behura v. Union of India and stated that the purpose behind the SC’s direction to create a database for missing children is based on the statutory provision in the Juvenile Justice Model Rules of 2016, wherein Rule 92 requires an enquiry to be held in case of a missing child. The Court also observed that the said provision is not being implemented in its “true letter and spirit”, and thus, directed the State to issue directions to police stations and juvenile police units to adhere to Rule 92 within a month.

Besides the said directions, the Court has also directed the Petitioners to submit a detailed representation to the State Government in addition to a draft of the proposed guidelines regarding child protection for assisting the government to formulate guidelines on the same.

Furthermore, the Division Bench also enquired the State to answer as to the manner in which it proposed to carry out the social audit of implementation of the Juvenile Justice Act. The Bench also noted that the State Government has not exercised its rulemaking power under the JJ Act and that numerous provisions of the Act cannot be implemented without the power being used.

Consequently, the Court held “We, therefore, direct the State Government to expedite the work of framing rules under the JJ Act as well as the said Act of 2005 (Commissions for Protection of Child Rights).” The Court has not set an outer limit taking into account the ongoing pandemic, however, has stressed on the duty of the State to implement the Statutes.

Apart from the same, the Court has also passed directions on Child Welfare Committees: the infrastructure; record on the number of staffs in the institution; the training that is to be given to them, and the like.

The High Court had heard the matter which included two PILs, including a Suo Motu litigation registered in 2018, on Wednesday.

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