NCPCR summons Facebook official over Rahul Gandhi's Instagram post
The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has summoned an official of Facebook India next week along with details of the action taken against Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for posting a video on his Instagram account revealing the identity of the family of the nine-year-old girl allegedly raped and murdered in southwest Delhi. NCPCR has said Facebook India's trust and safety head, Satya Yadav, must appear before it at 5pm on August 17 virtually, according to news agency ANI.
On Friday, the child rights body asked Facebook to take action against Rahul Gandhi for posting the video of the girl's family, saying it violated the provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015, the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Pocso) Act, 2012, and the Indian Penal Code (IPC). It also demanded the removal of the video from the platform.
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No one can disclose the identity of a child in any form of media under Section 74 of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015, and Section 23 of the Pocso Act also states that no information or photo of a child should be published in any way, which could reveal the identity of the child. This includes their name, address, photograph, family details, school, neighbourhood or any other particulars which may lead to the disclosure of the identity of the child under Pocso Act's Section 23.
"Therefore, posting of the video of the minor victim's family on social media platform-Instagram has been observed by the Commission to be a violation of Section 74 of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015, Section 23 of the POCSO Act, 2012, Section 228A of the IPC and the guidelines of the Hon'ble Court as well," NCPCR said, according to news agency ANI.
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"In view of the same, the Commission deems it appropriate to take suo-moto cognisance under Section 13(1) and notice under Section 14 of the CPCR Act, 2005 in this matter," the NCPCR said.
Before this, NCPCR wrote to Twitter and asked it to take action against Gandhi for posting the family's photo on the social media platform. After that, Twitter temporarily locked Rahul Gandhi's account, saying it reviewed the Congress leader's tweet against its rules and policies. NCPCR has also moved the Delhi High Court over the issue.
The Congress party later claimed that nearly 5,000 accounts of senior leaders such as Randeep Singh Surjewala, Ajay Maken, Sushmita Dev and Manickam Tagore were temporarily locked as they shared the photograph of Rahul Gandhi meeting the minor rape victim’s family. The party’s official handle was also barred from posting.
The opposition party has criticised the government for “scuttling free speech”. Its head of social media department, Rohan Gupta, accused Twitter of working under government pressure. “They need to understand we can’t be pressurised by Twitter or the government.”
On Friday, Rahul Gandhi called Twitter a "biased platform" and it follows the government's directions as he questioned if India would let a company define the politics of the country. "A company is making its business to define our politics and as a politician, I don't like that. This is an attack on the democratic structure of the country. This is not an attack on Rahul Gandhi, this is not simply shutting Rahul Gandhi down," the Member of Parliament from Kerala's Wayanad said.
On its part, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) called the Congress leader “ignorant and insensitive”. "It establishes that Rahul Gandhi is not only ignorant but insensitive as well. This was not expected from a top leader of the Congress party," BJP’s media in-charge Anil Baluni said on Friday.
(With agency inputs)