SC hints at making child pornography a non-bailable offence

Rejects bail of accused who allegedly shared pornographic content on Facebook via mobile


Our Correspondent November 27, 2021
PHOTO: AFP/FILE

ISLAMABAD:

The Supreme Court has ruled that one of the most alarming social evil prevailing in the society is child pornography, therefore this menace needs to be curbed with iron hands.

“Child pornography has created havoc in society as it contains a great threat to morality and the future of children,” a three-page judgment authored by Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi said while rejecting a post-arrest bail of an accused, who allegedly shared child pornographic content on Facebook through his mobile.

The judgment said, “One of the reasons for the rise of child abuse/rape cases is squarely because of child pornographic content.

“The concerns regarding child sexual abuse and exploitation have been prevailing in the society in the past also. However, due to various factors, the gravity and impact of the offense of child pornography is increasing at an alarming rate and this menace needs to be curbed with iron hands.”

There is no denial to this fact that it was the Facebook Authority who had contacted Federal Investigating Agency and had provided the information against the petitioner, upon which the FIA had inquired into the matter.

A division bench of the apex court led by Justice Maqbool Baqar heard the matter.

Justice Naqvi while authoring the three-page order noted that although the offence with which the petitioner (accused) has been charged with does not fall within the prohibitory clause of Section 497 CrPC and the maximum punishment for the same is seven years but keeping in view the nature of accusation, its impact on the society and the material collected so far merits the case to fall within the exception of granting bail when the offence falls within the non-prohibitory clause. Otherwise, it is not an absolute principle of law.

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"As far as the argument of learned counsel for the petitioner that no victim has been associated in the case is concerned, the allegation against the petitioner is of spreading child pornographic videos and not of making them. Since when he was doing this act and how many children’s videos has he shared so far is yet to be determined, in any case, it is a crime to hollow out the society, therefore, the argument of the learned counsel for the petitioner is of no help to the petitioner," the order said.

Even otherwise, the court said that this petition is barred by three days and no plausible explanation for the condonation of the delay has been given.

The order said that as per the contents of the crime report, the allegation levelled against the petitioner is that he was involved in sharing child pornographic content through his Facebook profile via his mobile device.

"The mobile phone of the petitioner was taken into possession and was sent to Forensic Science Laboratory and according to the report of the FSL, the Facebook profile of the petitioner was found active on his mobile phone and child pornographic videos and images were also extracted from his mobile phone. The mobile numbers which the petitioner was using in his mobile device were also found active and the same were registered in his name," the order said.

The apex court directed the trial court to proceed with the trial expeditiously and conclude the same as early as possible.

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