SHOWING PORN TO CHILDREN TO BE CRIMINAL OFFENCE UNDER IT ACT

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EXHIBITING sexually-explicit footage before a child would be considered a criminal offence under the new IT Act. An all-party committee has recommended tough measures against those transmitting such footage to children. Use of any electronic channel — online or mobile — for such purposes would be treated as a criminal offence under the new IT.

“The Act of grooming the child for sexual relationship through online enticement or distribution/showing pornography or through any online means should be made a criminal offence and a proposal should be made under Section 67A,” the parliamentary committee has told the ministry of IT in its report. The committee also wants the IT ministry to criminalise child porn under Article 9 of the European convention of cyber crimes.

The committee is very concerned that the ministry of IT has nowhere mentioned the word child pornography in the proposed section.

The department of IT, in its draft guidelines, has argued that Section 67A while covering pornography will automatically cover crime related to child pornography as well. However, now the department is considering inclusion of a separate clause in the new Act, an official in the ministry said. The revised paragraphs would be added under the presupposed Section 67A of the new IT Act, the official said.

The parliamentary committee is also concerned about the problems faced by police officers when they start prosecuting an accused residing outside India in connection with an Internet crime.

The Indian government has signed MLATs (mutual legal assistance treaties) with 17 countries. However, the committee is not satisfied enough, saying that India should be a signatory to an omnibus international convention so that foreign crimes can be taken care of with utmost promptitude.

It has also said that the current laws under IPC are not adequate and India needs a comprehensive IT Act which can deal with all ITrelated crimes including cyber terrorism.

Earlier, the government had indicated that it proposed to revise the draft IT Act 2006, after it invited flak from the parliamentary committee. The revised draft Act would be put up for public comment. “We plan to revise the draft Act in consultation with all the stakeholders and then put it up for public comment so that no flaws are left this time,” the official added.

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