Breaking: In-camera hearing in SC on Committee report in Prajwala case
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Breaking: In-camera hearing in SC on Committee report in Prajwala case

Murali Krishnan

In a major development in the Prajwala case relating to circulation of videos of sexual assault and child pornography on the internet, the Supreme Court today agreed to hold an in-camera hearing on the Committee report.

A Bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and UU Lalit acceded to the request by Whatsapp, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and other search engines and listed the case for hearing on October 23.

Senior Advocates Kapil Sibal, AM Singhvi, Sidharth Luthra and Sajan Poovayya appeared for various search engines. All of them requested that there are certain proposals made by the Committee which should be considered in-camera.

The Bench quizzed the lawyers for a very long time before agreeing to the request.

The case has its genesis in a complaint sent in January to former Chief Justice of India HL Dattu by an NGO, Prajwala, along with a pen drive of two rape videos on YouTube. The Court had taken suo motu cognisance of the letter and has been debating the possibility of blocking videos of sexual assault and child pornography

On March 22 this year, the Supreme Court had constituted a Committee to assist and advise the Court on the feasibility of ensuring that videos depicting gang rape, child pornography and rape are not made available on internet.

The Committee, after extensive deliberations and discussions, submitted its report to the Court in sealed cover. The Court had taken up the matter for consideration of the various proposals made by the Committee, when the search engines made the request for in-camera hearing.

The matter has now been listed for hearing on October 23.

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