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HindustanTimes Sun,20 Apr 2014

SC asks DoT how porn websites can be blocked

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, November 18, 2013
First Published: 19:57 IST(18/11/2013) | Last Updated: 20:01 IST(18/11/2013)

The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) to spell out ways and means to block websites with pornographic content in India, particularly those featuring child pornography.

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A bench headed by Justice BS Chauhan asked the Union ministry of communications and information technology, of which DoT is a part, to respond in three weeks.

The DoT was issued notice after additional solicitor general, Indira Jaising, told the bench that the ministry of information and broadcasting, which was earlier issued a notice in the case, was concerned with content on radio and television and not websites.

Watching obscene videos in private is not an offence. But petitioner Kamlesh Vaswani, an Indore-based advocate, demanded a ban on pornographic sites as they were a major cause behind crimes against women. Watching and sharing of obscene videos should be made a non-bailable and cognisable offences, Vaswani pleaded.

"Most offences committed against women/girls/children are fuelled by pornography. The worrying issue is that the severity and gravity of such images is increasing. It is a matter of serious concern that prepubescent children are being raped," the petition contended. It referred to the December 16, 2012, Delhi gang-rape case in which a 23-year-old paramedical student was brutally gang-raped by six persons, leading to her death.

The Centre had earlier told SC that it was difficult to block international porn sites in the country and sought time to consult various ministries to find a solution.

Expressing its displeasure over the Centre taking too much time in dealing with a "serious" issue, the bench granted it time to devise a proper mechanism to block porn sites, particularly child pornography sites.

“The sexual content that kids are accessing today is far more graphic, violent, brutal, deviant and destructive and has put entire society in danger and also poses threats to public order in India,” the petition stated.

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