Saturday, June 3, 2023

Law Minister Kiren Rijiju seeks cooperation of judiciary, civil society for speedy disposal of child abuse cases

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Union Minister of Law and Justice Kiren Rijiju has said that High Courts across the country, along with the state governments and people in general, need to work in tandem to make the society safe and progressive, especially for children. 

Inaugurating the two-day National Conference on Child Sexual Abuse Material organised by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in New Delhi, Rijiju said there was no point of development, if women and children did not feel safe in the country. 

The Minister said Fast Track Special Courts dealing with the cases of sexual violence against children have so far disposed of more than 1,37,000 cases. However, much needs to be done beyond the legal provisions to ensure that human rights of children in particular were not violated. 

Rijiju asked the High Courts to take steps, in order to improve the conviction rate in such cases and their disposal, while asking the state governments to strengthen the investigation agencies and forensic labs for the same.

The Minister drew the attention of the gathering towards the Child Sexual Abuse Material, stating that the production, distribution and consumption of CSAM was one of the most serious forms of sexual abuse faced by children and consecutively a grave violation of their human rights, which disrupted their development psychologically. 

He said the Centre was committed to taking more proactive action as far as the Legislations were required, but it needed full cooperation from both the judiciary and the civil society for safe and progressive development of the society.

Speaking on the occasion, NHRC Chairperson Justice Arun Mishra said that prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of crimes relating to online CSAM were primary responsibility of the respective States and UTS. 

He said a coordinated effort at both global and national levels would successfully make the digital world safe and secure for children. The Internet Service Providers and Intermediaries have also to share responsibility, he added.

He said that although the internet brought revolutionary changes, the cyberspace was now being misused to infringe on several human rights, including individual privacy. 

Calling cyber security as the key to fight cybercrime and preserve human rights, the NHRC Chairperson said digital forensic development was necessary to catch and check the perpetrators of CSAM. 

Justice Mishra further said that besides augmenting forensic infrastructure and keeping pace with emerging challenges for Enforcement Agencies, there was also a need for education and training of investigating officers, lawyers and judges. He further stressed on mass awareness among the internet users to tackle the problem.

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