Supreme Court turns down plea to ban social networking sites
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Centre to examine if social networking sites like Facebook and WhatsApp can be prosecuted for use of their platforms to circulate offensive and vulgar material but turned down a plea to block the sites.
A social justice bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and U U Lalit asked the Centre to look into the issue after two cases were brought to its notice in which people were booked for circulating rape videos through WhatsApp in Mumbai and running a sex racket for pedophiles through Facebook account but no action was taken against the social networking sites.
The Centre had earlier told the court that it was difficult to identify people who uploaded sex videos through mobile phones and shared through WhatsApp. It said culprits could be easily caught if such activities were done through a computer but it was difficult to find the source when the crime was committed through phones.
With the government expressing its inability to keep a check on material shared through WhatsApp, a Hyderabad-based NGO, Prajwala, told the bench that action should also be taken against the networking sites and they should be blocked. Head of the NGO, Sunitha Krishnan, asked the court to direct the government to put in place a mechanism to regulate sites and keep a check on the contents being circulated through WhatsApp.
Top CommentThe reply that it is impossible to trace the person uploading the offending content using mobile phones is not tenable. ...
The bench, however, said blocking is not a feasible solution and turned down the plea. "You are now asking blocking of sites. You may later on ask for banning mobile phones. Its not a solution and it cannot be done," the bench said.
"Let the government first respond to the issue and then we will consider," the bench said asking the Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh to look into the issue why networking sites were not booked by Kerala and Maharashtra Police.
Taking suo motu cognizance on Prajwala's letter written to the Chief Justice of India pointing out nine rape videos being circulated through WhatsApp, the bench had directed a CBI probe into all those cases.