Karnataka

HC pulls up SPs of five districts over child pornography report

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Observing that the Superintendents of Police (SPs) serving in Kolar, Vijayapura, Ballari, Gadag, and Kalaburagi districts lack elementary knowledge about registering First Information Report (FIR) to conduct investigation, the High Court of Karnataka on Tuesday questioned how these SPs could come to a conclusion that no victim of child pornography was lodged in children’s homes in their districts without conducting a probe by registering FIRs.

The court questioned how the State’s Director-General and Inspector-General Police could accept the reports sent by the SPs without ascertaining commission of offence by registering FIRs though the 2018 report, on child care institutions under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, by the Union Ministry of Woman and Child Development discloses serious offence committed against children.

A Division Bench made these observations orally during a PIL petition filed by Bachpan Bachao Andolan, and a PIL petition initiated suo motu by the High Court for monitoring implementation of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015.

The Bench took serious exception to the letter written on January 7, 2020 by the State’s Principal Secretary, Woman and Child Development Department, informing the Union Ministry of Woman and Child Development that the ministry’s report that 113 victims of child pornography are housed in State’s children’s home is “incorrect.”

How could the State government claim that there was no victim of child pornography without even conducting a probe as per the law, the court asked.

When the Bench asked why it should not direct an inquiry against the SPs and other officers for failing to register FIRs as per the POCSO Act, 2012, Additional Advocate-General, appearing for the government, admitted that there was a mistake but contended that the officials wrongly construed that the ministry’s report indicated that offence of child pornography occurred inside the children’s homes instead of understanding that victims of child pornography were housed in these homes. Giving time to the government to rectify the mistake, the Bench adjourned further hearing.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2020 10:48:17 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/hc-pulls-up-sps-of-five-districts-over-child-pornography-report/article30569785.ece

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