The Karnataka High Court has held that the dissemination of "material which is lascivious or appeals to the prurient interest" by way of Compact Disks would attract Section 67 of the Information Technology Act.
Justice Suraj Govindaraj observed that, a C.D being an electronic form the publication by way of a C.D would come within the purview of Section 67 of the IT Act.
The accused in this case were accused of distributing handbills and Compact Disk (C.D.) to the public in Ratha Beedi of Gokarna, which contained derogatory materials against the Mutt and pontiffs in order to defame the pontiffs and to create a breach of peace and harm to the religious feelings amongst the devotees of Mutt. They were charged with offences under Sections 120-B, 153-A, 295-A, 298, 500, 511 read with Section 149 of Indian Penal Code, section 67 of Information Technology Act.
One of the issues considered by the Court in the petition filed by the accused was whether dissemination of "material which is lascivious or appeals to the prurient interest" by way of Compact Disks would attract Section 67 of the Information Technology Act? The contention of the accused was that the Section 67 is not attracted since there is no public dissemination of any matter over the internet or by way of social media like WhatsApp, Facebook etc.
Taking note of the definition of 'Electronic form' and the Section 67 of the IT Act, the court said that What Section 67 requires is the publication or transmittal in Electronic Form, an examination of Section 2(1) (r) would indicate that any information generated, sent, received or stored in media, magnetic, optical etc. The Court also referred to the meaning of Compact Disc in Encyclopedia, and observed thus:
"The above write up would indicate that the data on a C.D is created or scanned using a laser beam, that is it is optical in nature. Thus, a C.D would come within the definition of Electronic Form under Section 2(1) (r) of the IT Act. A C.D being an electronic form the publication by way of a C.D would come within the purview of Section 67 of the IT Act. The distribution of such a CD would amount to publication and/or transmission. "
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