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Information given by the Minister of Women and Child Development, Smriti Zubin Irani

“Police” and “Public Order” are State subjects as per the Constitution of India. States/UTs are primarily responsible for prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of crimes including crimes related to exploitation of children; through their law enforcement machinery. The law enforcement agencies take legal action as per provisions of law against persons involved in digital sexual exploitation/ abuse of children. The Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000 has adequate provisions to deal with prevailing cybercrimes. Section 67B of the Act specifically provides stringent punishment for publishing, browsing or transmitting child pornography in electronic form. Further, sections 354A and 354D of Indian Penal Code provide punishment for cyber bullying and cyber stalking against women.

Details of further action taken by the Government are as under:

Ministry of Home Affairs has approved a scheme namely ‘Cyber Crime Prevention against Women and Children (CCPWC)’ under which an online Cyber Crime reporting portal, (www.cybercrime.gov.in) has been launched to enable public to report complaints pertaining to Child Pornography/ Child Sexual Abuse Material, rape/gang rape imageries or sexually explicit content. This portal facilitates the public to lodge complaints anonymously or through Report and track option. Steps have also been taken to spread awareness, issue of alerts/advisories, training of law enforcement agencies, improving cyber forensic facilities etc. These steps help to prevent such cases and speed up investigation. A handbook on Cyber Safety for Adolescents/Students has been released (Copy available on www.cybercrime.gov.in and www.mha.gov.in) and sent to all States/ Union Territories for wide circulation. Cyber Crime awareness campaign has been launched through twitter handle (@CyberDost) and radio across the country.

The Ministry of Women and Child Development had enacted the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO Act) as a special law to protect children from offences of sexual assault, sexual harassment and pornography. Section 13 to Section 15 deals with the issue of child pornography.

Section 14 and Section 15 lays down the punishment for using the child for pornographic purposes and for storage of pornographic material involving the child.

Further Section 28 of the POCSO Act 2012 provides for the establishment of Special Courts for the purpose of providing speedy trial of offences under the Act.

Section 43 of the POCSO Act, 2012 provides that the Central Government and every State Government takes all measures to give wide publicity to the provisions of the Act. In accordance with this, MWCD has taken various steps from time to time to create awareness of the provisions of the POCSO Act through electronic and print media, consultations, workshops and training programmes with stakeholders concerned. Further, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) and State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (SCPCRs) are also mandated to monitor the implementation of the POCSO Act, 2012.

Government has taken a number of steps to be implemented by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to protect children from sexual abuse online. These include:

Government blocks the websites containing extreme Child sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) based on INTERPOL’s “Worst-of-list” shared periodically by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) which is the National Nodal Agency for Interpol. The list is shared with Department of Telecommunications (DoT), who then directs major ISPs to block such websites.

Government ordered major Internet Service Providers(ISPs) in India to adopt and disable/remove the online CSAM dynamically based on Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), UK list.

Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has implemented a major programme on Information Security Education and Awareness (ISEA). A dedicated website for information security awareness (https://www.infosecawareness.in) has also been set up.


Press Release dt. 18-07-2019

[Source: PIB]

Legislation UpdatesNotifications

S.O. 1595(E)— In pursuance of Section 4 of the Commission for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005 (4 of 2006), the Government of India hereby appoint Ms Pragna Parande as Member (Juvenile justice or care of neglected or marginalized children or children with disabilities), National Commission for Protection of Child Rights in the pay scale equivalent to that of an Additional Secretary to the Government of India with effect from 09th March, 2019(A/N) for a period of three years, or until on attaining the age of 60 years, or until further orders, whichever is the earlier.

S.O. 1596(E) — In pursuance of Section 4 of the Commission for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005 (4 of 2006), the Government of India hereby appoint Ms Rosy Taba as Member (Elimination of child labour or children in distress), National Commission for Protection of Child Rights in the pay scale equivalent to that of an Additional Secretary to the Government of India with effect from 10th March, 2019(F/N) for a period of three years, or until on attaining the age of 60 years, or until further orders, whichever is the earlier.

[Dt. 27-03-2019]

Ministry of Women and Child Development

Case BriefsForeign Courts

United Kingdom Supreme Court: The 6-Judge Bench comprising of Lady Hale, President, Lord Kerr, Lord Wilson, Lord Carnwath and Lady Black addressed an appeal that concerns the limits of a local authority’s powers and duties to provide accommodation for children in need under Section 20 of the Children Act 1989 (CA).

The facts of the case state that the appellants are the parents of eight children and their 12 year old son was caught shop-lifting. The reasons stated by the child were that he had no money for lunch and that his father used to beat him. On visiting the child’s home, police found the conditions of his home to be unfit for habitation by children. Police exercised powers under Section 46 of the Children Act, 1989 in order to provide foster replacements to the children for a better environment to them. Further, the parents were arrested and interrogated but later released on bail with the condition that they could not have unsupervised contact with any of their children.

The Supreme Court observed in the present case that, the parents had signed a ‘Safeguarding Agreement’, by which they had agreed to let the children remain with their foster replacements and in order of the stated fact, and no objection or request been made by the parents for the return of children it was a lawful basis for the children’s continued accommodation under Section 20.

Therefore, the point of concern raised in the said appeal about the powers and limits of local authorities was answered in the following manner: “Section 20 gives local authorities no compulsory powers over parents or their children and must not be used in such a way as to give the impression that it does”. Also, the parents should be given full information in regard to the said provision, as in the present case the parents were not provided with the same that they should have been. The Court dismissed the appeal for reasons which differ from those of the Court of Appeal. [William v. Borough of Hackney, [2018] 3 WLR 503, dated 18-07-2018]