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Should India follow Australia and publish registry of sex offenders?
In a bid to promote safety, Australia has published its first online register of child sex offenders despite concerns that it could lead to attacks on the 'criminals' by common people. Since India also hosts a huge population of such criminals, should it also go ahead and publish the details of regular offenders?

IT IS for the first time that the State of Western Australia has opened an online registry of sex offenders, where people can also register and could be contacted if an offender resides nearby. People can go and visit the site and see the names, photographs and the place where they reside as well. It is an important step taken at a time, when sex offenders have been committing the crime and getting away with it. Can such kind of a registry be introduced in India?

There are a number of sex offenders in India as well. But, such kind of online registry is not going to help, feels Imran Ali, advocate with the Supreme Court. “I will not support such registry because the current system of judiciary is not so transparent in any part of the world,” said Mr Ali. This might be the reason that all the states in the US don't have such registers.

Problems may arise if such kind of registry is made available to public. “How will it help, when one knows that a criminal resides near your house? I do not see any positive side to it. There will only be a sense of hatred towards the person. The only thing that they can do is apply three to four locks in their respective houses to feel safe,” added Mr Ali.

He also does not agree with the names and photographs being displayed. Some offenders may be first timers and may have committed the crime under the influence of alcohol. So if their names go on that list, they are going to be looked upon as criminals for the rest of their lives.

Mr Ali feels that this is an attack on privacy as they would be disclosing the name, photographs and the address of the criminals. One also has to understand that with such registry lives of the criminals would also be under threat. There are chances that locals might take the matter in their own hands and try to attack them to prevent any problems in the future.

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