Faced with an unusual predicament, the Supreme Court is now seeking a response from the government on a plea to block and ban pornographic sites on the Internet, especially the ones depicting child pornography.

As it stands now, a bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir has sent out notices to the ministries of Information and Technology, Information and Broadcasting and Home Affairs and Internet Service Providers Association of India, based on a petition that is looking to implement an anti-pornography law.  

It all began when Indore-based advocate Kamlesh Vaswani said in his petition, that while watching obscene videos does not count as an offence, it has gone on to become one of the major reasons for crimes against women.

Reportedly, the court was reluctant to take forward Vaswani’s petition in the beginning, citing that it could be dealt with under the Information Technology law.

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Pornographic content is one of the causes of crime against women, reports say (Image credit: Getty Images)

Advocate Vijay Panjwani, through whom this petition was filed said that the “absence of Internet laws” were in fact encouraging users to watch porn videos. Also, since watching porn does not constitute as an offence,  the market is flooded with over 20 crore porn videos or clippings that were being downloaded off the internet. 

An excerpt from the petition reads thus, “The sexual content that kids are accessing today is far more graphic, violent, brutal, deviant and destructive and has put entire society in danger so also safety threats to public order in India. The petitioner most respectfully submits that most of the offences committed against women/girls/children are fuelled by pornography. The worrying issue is the severity and gravity of the images is increasing. It is a matter of serious concern that prepubescent children are being raped.”

Referring to the horrific Delhi gangrape case, the petition said, “Offenders’ minds are mostly fuelled by pornography as the sexual offender or rapist achieve his gratification not from sexual release alone but also from the thrill of domination, control and power.”

It noted that the Indian Penal Code only identifies offences, like obscenity, kidnapping, abduction, and other related offences, and these, the petition said, were not adept at handling issues like pornography.  

The petition went on to state that in India, what constitutes an offence, pertaining to pornography, is the distribution, production and sharing of such content. 

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