The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought the Centre’s response on a plea seeking directions to formulate laws to regulate the access of minors to social media, PTI reported. Presently, there is no law in India prescribing an age restriction for using social media. The plea sought that such an age limit be introduced.

A bench headed by Chief Justice of India Sharad Arvind Bobde and comprising Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian asked the Union Law Ministry to respond to the plea, which sought to formulate a gender-neutral legislation or to amend existing laws to criminalise revenge porn, morphing and impersonation. The plea has been filed by Skand Bajpai and Abhyudaya Mishra – both law students.

The plea has sought that the Centre conduct proper investigations and legal proceedings against social media users who advertise, sell and procure illicit content like rape videos and graphic private information, and to ensure that such materials are deleted. The plea has said that the ministry should be directed to formulate appropriate laws or amend the existing ones to encourage mandatory reporting of child sexual abuse material, and make intermediaries liable for the material shared on their platforms. It said that such material has created a “harassing, exploitative and paedophilic environment” on these platforms.

The petition alleged that no action has yet been taken on a report by the ad-hoc committee of the Rajya Sabha to study the problem of the availability of porn on social media and its effects on society. The petition sought that the government be directed to introduce adolescent sex education as a compulsory subject and also a subject related to online safety, security and conduct, in the school and college syllabi.