Habitual cyber offenders to be brought under Goonda Act

Habitual cyber offenders to be brought under Goonda Act

Habitual cyber offenders to be brought under Goonda Act

Habitual cyber offenders will be booked under the amended Goonda Act, which was passed by the state legislature last week, Home Minister K J George said today.

In a recent case, police have said they were considering invoking the amended Goonda Act against a right-wing activist who had launched verbal attacks on women and posted alleged inflammatory remarks against a minority community on Facebook.

V R Bhat, the accused, was arrested on August 2.  In a complaint filed with police, a woman has alleged that Bhat, in his reply to her Facebook post, made the objectionable remarks. Another complaint by a woman journalist alleged that Bhat made inflammatory remarks against a minority community.

The Act includes "acid attackers, bootleggers, depredator of environment and digital offenders", George told reporters.

The Act also covers drug offenders, gamblers, goondas, immoral traffic offenders, land-grabbers, money launderers, sexual predators and video or audio pirates, he said.

The government decided to bring sexual offences under the Goonda Act following a public outcry against increasing rapes across the state, including the one at a public school in Bangalore, George said.

Government had assured the legislature that it would try to amend the Goonda Act to bring sexual offenders under it when the Opposition BJP created a ruckus over the alleged gang rape of a six-year-old student at Vibgyor High school here.

George also said the government has set up an expert committee headed by former Law Minister M C Nanaiah to suggest amendments to the law related to sexual assault cases and enhancement of punishment for the crime.

The committee will submit its report along with its recommendations in next three months, George said.

Spurt in the incidents of sexual assault on women and children and ruckus inside and outside legislature forced government to form the committee, the Minister said.

"The committee comprises legislators, representatives of various organisations and legal experts," he said.

Brushing aside the reports that a clean chit has been given to skating instructor Mustafa in the 6-year-old girl rape case at Vigyor High School, George said "Nowhere our officers have told that arrested person (Mustafa) is innocent. Still investigation is going on."

He said "it is left to the investigating officer to arrest somebody for interrogation, and till we chargesheet people, investigation will go on. We have to find out who is really guilty and who is not."

To a query, George said Chairman of the school, Rustom Kerawalla, is accountable for the crime as he did not bring the incident to the notice of victim's parents and police.

"It is not a blind case. Already, investigation is going on very seriously and we will investigate, and guilty will be punished," he added.