When information is received regarding a cognizable offence, the police has no option but to register the FIR immediately, Karnataka HC on child pornography

Inquiry of Project by Isha Foundation 'Cauvery Calling' as govt project: Karnataka High Court

On hearing the Public Interest Litigation regarding the child Pornography, the Karnataka High Court Division Bench comprising of Chief justice Abhay Sreeniwas oka and Justice Ashok S Kinagi, ruled that the police has no other option but to register FIR immediately when an information regarding cognizable offence has been received.

Brief facts:

Earlier in September 2018, the Ministry of Women and child Development issued a report stating that high number of child pornography cases being reported in the state of Karnataka. The report stated that there are 113 victims of child pornography which includes 87 boys and 26 girls in the state-run children homes. Based on the report, Banchpan Bachao Andolan, a New Delhi-based NGO, filed public interest litigation, seeking direction to formulate new or amended Child protection programme as the old one relates only to children in school. It further sought report on the status of rehabilitation of victims of child pornography and the action took against the officials.

The Karnataka High court also registered a suo motu PIL based on the directions given by the Supreme Court for the better implementation of Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 in Sampurna Behura vs. Union of India and others, vide judgment dated 9th February, 2018. The Supreme Court in its direction observed: “to make the involvement and process more meaningful, we request the chief justice if every high court to register proceedings on its own motion for effective implementation of the Juvenile Justice (care and protection) Act, 2015 so that the road blocks if any encountered by statutory authorities and the Juvenile justice committee of High Court are meaningfully addressed after hearing the concerned governmental officials.

In pursuance to the filing of PIL, based on the remarks of the Petitioner’s counsel that no single FIR was registered against the 113 child pornography cases, the court sought the response of the state government regarding the action taken pertaining to the same. The superintendent of Police was issued a letter by Additional Director General of Police to submit a report regarding the child pornography events occurred in the state of Karnataka within one day who submitted a report without any indication of the event of Child Pornography. The court was taken by surprise by the state government’s claim that there were no such cases being reported in the state of Karnataka. The court lashed out the state government and questioned the basis of the report filed by the superintendent of police without registration of FIR and conducting enquiry. The court further directed to withdraw the correspondence made by the DG, as there was no FIR registered. The court observed that with respect to the cognizable offences, registration of FIR is mandatory prior to the investigation as held by the Supreme Court in Lalitha Kumari vs. State of Uttar Pradesh and ors. Earlier this week three reports stipulated to the investigation carried out by CID were placed on record.

Key features:

  1. The court directed the CID to produce another report relating to the investigation conducted till April 18th in the next hearing.
  2. The court stated that it would not make any observations at the present stage since the investigation is in progress.
  3. The court further stated that it would make examine the certain aspects regarding the implementation of juvenile justice.

The court has directed the registry to list the matter on 21st April, 2020 for further hearing.

Edited by J. Madonna Jephi

Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje