The Supreme Court on Tuesaday asked internet services providers (ISPs) like Google whether there was any mechanism to identify culprits uploading obscene contents on websites.The apex court did not prima facie agree with the submission that there cannot be preventive blockage but only curative blockage and said “we want prevention and not cure”. A bench of Justices M B Lokur and U U Lalit referred to the loss of reputation and dignity of women and children, whose offensive and obscene sexual offence videos were uploaded on websites and asked the counsel for Google about the mechanism, if any, to identify culprits before they upload such objectionable contents.
Senior advocate Sajan Poovayya, appearing for Google, said being an ISP (internet service provider), it only “catalogued” the contents hosted by it and the offensive ones were taken off when they are brought to its notice. Huge amounts of videos and other materials are uploaded every hour by websites on search engines like Google and it would be very difficult to analyse and block them before they are uploaded, the senior lawyer said.The lawyer said the government’s nodal agency could help ISPs in ensuring that objectionable contents are taken off.
Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh, appearing for the Centre, alleged that the ISPs wanted to earn and say that they will not do anything on their own.During the hearing, the bench referred to the provisions of the Information Technology Act and asked the counsel for ISPs to apprise it on how would they abide by the guidelines on regulating web contents.ASG also said that the budgetary allocation has been made for creating a specialised central institutional mechanism for blocking, stopping videos from being uploaded and circulation of such materials on social networking platforms.
The court was hearing a letter sent to former Chief Justice of India H L 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 asked CBI to launch a probe forthwith to nab the culprits. The Supreme Court said that these videos hinder the dignity of so many women’s and children and thus this is High time for all the ISP’s and the government to take sufficient steps to stop this problem. Court will give its final directions on the matter in subsequent hearings.