Days after the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) had sent a notice to Facebook calling for action against senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, it has now issued summons to the Head (Trust and Safety Department) Satya Yadav at Facebook India. It must be mentioned that the Congress scion had violated the POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act by posting videos of the parents of the 9-year-old girl who was allegedly raped and murdered in Delhi on his Instagram profile.
On Friday (August 13), NCPCR fired off another letter to Satya Yadav for failing to take action against Rahul Gandhi, as was directed in a previous letter on August 10. The Commission emphasised that it not only deals with the protection of child rights but also take suo motu cognisance of matters pertaining to non-implementation of laws for protection and child development.
“The Commission had taken cognisance upon a video posted on the Instagram portal of Shri Rahul Gandhi wherein the identity of minor girl victim’s parents has been disclosed…The matter had been forwarded to Facebook Inc. for removal of post and taking action against the Instagram profile of Shri Rahul Gandhi within 3 days. However, no reply/action taken report has been received by you even after the lapse of 03 days time,” NCPCR observed.
The statutory body highlighted that it has all the powers of a civil court under Section 14 of the CPCR (Commissions for Protection of Child Rights) Act in matters related to issuing summoning/enforcing the attendance of an individual and examining him under oath, producing documents, receiving evidence on affidavits, requisitioning any public record from any court and examining witnesses/documents.
“Now, therefore, the Commission in pursuance of the functions and powers under Section 13 and 14 of the CPCR Act. 2005 requires you to appear in person through video conferencing in the matter along with the details of the action taken in this matter at 1700 hours (5 pm) on Tuesday, 17th August 2021 in the Office of the Commission located at Chanderlok Building (5th Building) 36, Janpath, New Delhi 110001) to submit the action taken report and to explain the reasons for the delay,” NCPCR directed. It further warned Facebook Inc of ‘consequences’ under Rule 10 and Rule 12 of Order XVI of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 if Satya Yadav fails to comply with the order without ‘lawful excuse.’
NCPCR asks Facebook to remove video posted by Rahul Gandhi on Instagram
In a letter on August 10 to micro-blogging site Facebook Inc, which owns social media platform Instagram, National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) registrar Anu Chaudhary has stated that the commission has come across a video on the Instagram profile of Gandhi-scion Rahul Gandhi wherein the identity of minor girl victim’s family was disclosed. According to the notice issued by the NCPCR, the video shared by Rahul Gandhi on Instagram had shared specific personal details about the victim violating Section 23 of the POCSO Act, 2012, and Section 74 of Juvenile Justice Act,2015.
Hence, the NCPCR has asked Facebook to remove the video put out by Rahul Gandhi on Instagram as it was a deprivation and violation of child rights. The NCPCR informed Facebook Inc that Section 74 of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 prohibits the disclosure of the identity of a child in any form of media and Section 23 of the POCSO Act, 2012 also stated that no information or photo of a child should be published in any form of media that revealed the identity of the child.
Further, the NCPCR has cited the Supreme Court judgment in the Nipun Saxena vs Govt of India (2019) to suggest that the apex court has issued specific guidelines regarding not disclosing the victims’ details even after their death. Hence, the child rights body has demanded that Facebook Inc take appropriate action against Rahul Gandhi for violating the POCSO and JJ Act.