HC asks State Govt to issue SOP for Child Protection From Child Porn, missing Children cases

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The Karnataka High Court has asked the State Govt to formulate Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for child protection, particularly for cases of child pornography & child missing.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka & Justice M Nagaprasanna passed a detailed order & directed the State Govt to submit compliance within 3 months.

The division bench passed the order on 2 Public Intrest Litigations, including a suo motu litigation registered in 2018. The PILs were registered to ensure effective implementation of the directions of the Apex Court on the Juvenile Justice (Care & Protection of Children) Act, 2015 (JJ Act).

The bench observed that in normal courses, courts do not issue writ of mandamus to the legislature on rule-making aspects. However, when the failure of the state is demonstrated under exceptional circumstances, courts can issue directions. The bench directed the State Govt to expedite the rule-making process to ensure proper implementation of the JJ Act.

The bench expressed displeasure on the insensitive police investigation in cases of child pornography.

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The Bench said that “The police machinery did not show the sensitivity expected from it while dealing with cases of alleged child pornography. Therefore, it will be appropriate if the state issues SOP or guidelines for dealing with cases of child pornography so that proper investigation is carried out in such cases. As we are directing the formation of SOP for dealing with child pornography cases, the state is also directed to formulate guidelines on child missing cases”.

The bench had been issuing several directions since 2018 & has also been monitoring police investigations. The Court observed that while the State Govt has incorporated several directions, some issues still remain unaddressed.

The Bench directed the Govt to have a dedicated staff for the Directorate of Integrated Child Protection Scheme considering the sensitive nature of work.

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On working of Juvenile Justice Boards (JJB), the court asked the Registrar General of the Karnataka High Court to issue directions to the principal magistrates of all the JJBs in the state to sit on all working days for a minimum of six hours a day.

The HC ordered the state to exercise the rule-making powers for obtaining an annual report from the State Commission for Protection of Child Rights.

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