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Block porn sites showing child pornography: SC

Hindustan Times | ByHT Correspondent, New Delhi
Feb 27, 2016 08:34 AM IST

The Supreme Court Friday directed the Centre to evolve a mechanism to block websites showing child pornography and even sought its response to a plea to ban viewing of porn at public places. A bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra said the nation cannot afford to carry on with an experiment in the name of liberty.

The Supreme Court Friday directed the Centre to make a plan to block websites showing child pornography and sought its response to a plea to ban viewing of porn at public places.

With regard to adult pornography the top court said the Centre has to draw a distinct line between art and obscenity.
With regard to adult pornography the top court said the Centre has to draw a distinct line between art and obscenity.

“Innocent children cannot be made prey to this kind of painful situations and a nation cannot afford to carry on with any kind of experiment with children in the name of liberty,” a bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra said. It also ordered additional solicitor general Pinky Anand to spell out the government stand on whether people should be barred from watching porn in public.

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On adult pornography, the top court said the Centre has to draw a distinct line between art and obscenity. “Pornography is a very difficult topic. Some people will find the picture of Monalisa as obscene while some people will find it as an art. What can we do then,” the bench observed while hearing a public interest litigation seeking ban on pornography sites.

Indore-based Kamlesh Vaswani contended that watching and compelling anyone to watch pornographic materials in public places should be strictly banned.

Anand argued said it was not possible for the government to define pornography. “Any sort of clampdown could lead to invasion of privacy. It is difficult to ban pornographic websites as they do not fall under any country’s jurisdiction,” she told the bench, submitting a procedure was being worked out to block child pornography.

The bench appeared to differ from Anand and said the government has to lay down parameters regarding pornography. “When obscenity is an offence under the criminal law then why can’t you define it accordingly. It has already been decided that freedom of speech and expression is not absolute,” the bench said while allowing Supreme Court Women LAwyers’ Association to become a party in the case and support Vaswani.

“You have to draw a line what can be viewed in public and what can be viewed in private. State must not interfere in some matters but it should do where there is a crime,” the bench told Anand.

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