The Supreme Court today sought response from the Centre on a plea of a 73-year-old man from Tamil Nadu seeking a ban on the Blue Whale challenge game linked to deaths of several children worldwide.
The apex court also sought assistance of Attorney General K K Venugopal in the matter.
A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud issued notice to the Centre and sought its response in three weeks.
The apex court had on September 11, agreed to hear the plea filed by advocate N S Ponnaiah who also sought creating of awareness among the public about the online game.
Till September 5, media reported that at least 200 people had committed suicide after playing the online Blue Whale game. Most of them are young children in the age group of 13 to 15 years, the petition filed through C R Jaya Sukin said.
The petitioner said the Madurai City Police had confirmed that a college student, who had committed suicide after playing the game, had forwarded it to over 150 friends.
The Delhi High Court had on August 22 sought the response of Facebook, Google and Yahoo on a plea to direct them to take down the links of the Blue Whale challenge.
Taking a serious view of the Blue Whale Challenge game, the Madras High Court today directed the Central and Tamil Nadu governments to explore possibilities of banning it.
Initiating suo motu proceedings in the matter, Justices K K Sasidharan and G R Swaminathan of Madurai bench issued notice to the Union Information and Broadcasting Secretary and state Home Secretary and IT department and made several suggestions.
The bench asked them to find out the possibility of banning the game and directed that IIT-Madras Director be impleaded in the case to offer suggestions to ban such online games.
During the hearing of the matter, the state government informed the court that the student who ended his life here had shared the game with 75 others. However, all of them had been prevented from playing it, the government counsel added.
The judges suggested to the state DGP and Home Secretary that severe warning be issued to those who shared the ‘dangerous’ online game with others.
On September 1, the court had said it would take up the case suo motu when Krishnamurthy, an advocate, made an appeal for a direction to the Union Information and Broadcasting Ministry to ban such games.
The advocate made the plea after 19-year old Vignesh, a private college student, allegedly committed suicide on August 30 here after playing the game.
Vignesh had reportedly told his friends that he was “crazy” about the game and also told his parents that he was getting isolated due to his addiction for it.
Later in a suicide note, he had said “The game was a devastating one… once you enter it, you would not be able to come out.”
The bench also said monitoring should be intensified to prevent further spread of the game through sharing.
The court stressed on the need for creating awareness among students against playing such “dangerous” online games in educational institutions.
To this, CB-CID police officials present at the court said they were keeping a close watch and taking steps to freeze the game.
Warning had been issued against those sharing and downloading the “deadly” online game, they added.
The state government also informed the court that Vignesh had shared the game through Facebook and “Share it” App with 75 others. All had been prevented from playing the game, it said.
The IT department should also give suggestions to prevent the sharing of such “dangerous” online games, the bench said and posted the matter for further hearing to September 7.
The Blue Whale Challenge is reportedly a suicide game in which the player is given certain tasks to complete over a period of 50 days and the final task leads him or her to commit suicide.
The player is also asked to share photos after finishing each challenge.