Madras high court on Thursday directed the central government to ban popular Chinese video app TikTok, saying it was "encouraging pornography".
TikTok, an app that allows users to create and share short videos with special effects, has over 54 million monthly active users in India.
"The government has to answer whether the Union of India will enact a statue, like Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, enacted by the United States, to prevent the children becoming cyber/online victims," the judgment order read.
"Majority of the teens are playing pranks, gaffing around with duet videos sharing with split screen to the strangers. The children who use the said application are vulnerable to sexual predators," the court said in reply to a petition filed by Madurai senior lawyer Muthu Kumar.
Kumar told the court that the governments of Indonesia and Bangladesh have already prohibited the use of Tik Tok application.
However, the court said: "The government has got the social responsibility to prevent these kinds of applications and also take action against the persons, who are making use of it. It is always open to the authorities to take action without waiting for order from this court."
"On March 27, an auto driver was arrested for posting a video that included a woman from Chennai on Tik Tok Mobile App. A 15-year-old girl is said to have committed suicide at Mumbai for being scolded by her grandmother for use of Tik Tok Mobile App. An old man is said to have fallen in the waterfalls in Valparai, while taking a selfie or Tik Tok video. Before many tragic incidents would occur, the government has to take appropriate steps," the court said.
"The writ petition is to ban the Tik Tok Mobile App which was containing degrading culture and encouraging pornography besides causing pedophiles and explicit disturbing content, social stigma and medical health issue between teens," stated the judgment.
The court has also asked the state government to file a report regarding the steps taken by the state authorities to prohibit Tik Tok app.
Both the central government and the state government have to respond before April 16.