Last week, we became aware of an appalling incident reported to us by a doctor who uses our platform to consult patients online. A patient, while doing a private one to one chat with the doctor, admitted to actions amounting to sexual abuse of a minor.
Practo Consult, our online consultation platform, is designed to enable patients to have a fast, one to one, private chat with a doctor. The doctor is not employed by us. Any doctor can register on our platform (for free) and once their medical credentials are verified, they can consult patients online.
The conversation between a doctor and a patient is obviously sensitive and private. Thus, these chats are encrypted to ensure privacy. There is ofcourse no human intermediary or moderation either. So, we found out about the chat and the message when the doctor reported this to us. We were absolutely horrified to learn what had happened and remain extremely concerned about the safety and well-being of the 10 year old child.
As soon as we became aware of the incident, we reached out to the doctor to understand this better and then took the following step
- 8th Nov: We became aware of the issue reported by the doctor
- 8th Nov: We filed a complaint with the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR)
- 9th Nov: We filed a complaint with the police commissioner’s office in Bangalore. We couldn’t file this on the 8th because by the time we reached the police station on 8th(around 6pm) the child protection wing had closed for the day
- 9th Nov: The NCPCR, basis our complaint, wrote back to us asking for more information regarding the accused. Within just a couple of hours of receiving this request, we provided the information they sought from us.
- 10th Nov: We accompanied the doctor to the Kasna police station in Greater Noida and helped her file a police complaint there – we became co-complainants.
- 10th Nov: We filed another FIR in Puttenahalli police station in Bangalore, as that was the local police station with jurisdiction due to our office location
There is absolutely no question of there being any delay on our part in either alerting the authorities or in providing the information required. We have provided whatever details we have about the accused to both the NCPCR and the police. We take this issue extremely seriously and are doing everything we can to help.We have fully co-operated with the authorities from the beginning and will continue to do so..
All of us at Practo remain very concerned about the victim and feel a deep sense of responsibility in ensuring her safety and wellbeing. We remain in constant touch with the police authorities and will do whatever we can to help their investigation.