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Lusted, and busted

Caught viewing porn, the two Karnataka ministers have proved they are more foolhardy than depraved, HT writes.

india Updated: Feb 10, 2012 21:59 IST
'lascivious'

The word 'lascivious' is rather old-fashioned and quaint. What the word, throwing up the image of an active volcano in some over-worked brains, means is essentially 'given to or expressing lust'. The word warmly sits in the Indian Penal Code (IPC) as well as the Information Technology Act, both in the context of pornography. Section 292 of the IPC states that a "book, pamphlet, paper, writing, drawing, painting, representation, figure or any other object, shall be deemed to be obscene, if it is lascivious or appeals to the prurient interest or if its effect..." Chapter 11 of the Information Technology Act covers online pornography, stating that "whoever publishes or transmits or causes to be published in the electronic form, any material which is lascivious... shall be punished..." While watching pornography privately in India is not illegal, two ministers in the Karnataka government seem to have landed themselves in hot water after the nation played the voyeur by watching them watch a porn video clip inside the state assembly. What can be more thrilling than catching two grown men behave like hormonally overactive schoolboys?

Karnataka cooperation minister Lakshmana V Savadi, who prodded women and child development minister CC Patil to take the peek at the pornographic clip being played on his phone, chose a wrong venue. Mr Savadi is, for all purposes, as lascivious as most of us. But like the man caught having a smoke inside a hospital, his misdemeanour isn't really about him watching (and sharing) an adult movie with a colleague, but the fact that he did this inside the pheromones-free assembly house while proceedings were on.

The Karnataka assembly had been discussing "indecency in public" related to a recent rave party in Mangalore. So, we are willing to believe that Mr Savadi was playing a clip for 'research' purposes. That the video clip showed women dancing and then participating in what Mr Savadi himself described as "rape" suggests that he could be beating himself up unnecessarily. What he and his colleague (and, in pixellated form, the rest of the country) were probably watching was a bukkake, about which Mr Savadi, or anyone else, can choose to learn more about in private without fear or shame - outside their workplace in their free time.