Synopsis: Chief Justice S A Bobde’s bench agreed to hear the matter and sent notices to the Centre and others asking the Union Law Ministry for clarification on the appeal.
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court asked a reply from the Centre to a PIL filed by law students requesting age-based control over social media access.
The plea filed by law students Skand Bajpai and Abhyudaya Mishra suggested that profile verification should be established in order to delete illicit material from social media sites. After a brief hearing on the matter, a bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and consisting of Justices A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian decided to investigate the plea filed by the students of the Bharati Vidyapeeth Deemed University in Pune. The top court said that permission is granted to appear and argue in person.
The plea sought action against social media accounts, which are responsible for online trading in illegal material – online abuse videos and promoting pornographic content. The plea also requested a framework for the removal of illegal content and effective monitoring of the fact that such content is not uploaded in future.
The Apex Court sought a reply to the petition from, the Union Ministry of Electronics and Information and Technology and Law and Justice. The plea, citing the possibility of revenge porn, urged the top court to enforce gender-neutral laws and criminalise impersonation as well.
The petitioners argued that in June this year they had submitted a complaint to the government about this matter and the lack of a satisfactory response prompted them to mention the case to the apex court. The plea seeks legal action against those social media users who are related to the acquisition and advertisement of illegal content.
The plea cited the threat of fake accounts that act as an anonymity and impersonation site. The petitioners requested advice on appropriate verification guidelines for social media accounts and the inclusion of online protection in the education system.