Supreme Court issues notice to Department of Telecommunication in a PIL to ban Child Pornography Websites
The Supreme Court has issued notice to the Department of Telecommunication looking for its answer in question of blocking websites with pornographic content particularly those containing objects of child pornography.
In a PIL, highlighting menace of child pornographic content freely available on the internet, filed by Indore-based advocate Kamlesh Vaswani , through Advocate Vijay Panjwani, it was contented that in the absence of appropriate laws, people had easy access to over 20 crore porn videos or clippings freely available in the market, which were downloaded from the internet. He also sought a ban on pornographic sites saying these were one of the major causes behind spurt in crimes against women.
In reply to the argument of the petitioner, Internet Service Providers Association of India (ISPAI) the respondent, on Monday told the Supreme Court that they were mere medium for providing internet access to customers and they are not in a capacity to ban websites featuring child pornography without orders from the court or the government. They argued that it is practically and technically impossible for them to block pornographic sites without the authority and hence they cannot be made liable for the objectionable contents of the sites.
A bench headed by Justice BS Chauhan asked the Union ministry of communications and information technology, of which Department of Telecommunications is a part, to file its response within three weeks.
The provisions of Indian Penal Code and Information Technology Act are set to make it illegal to create and transmit child pornography in any form including electronic form.
Section 293 of Indian Penal Code penalizes the Sale or transmission of obscene objects to young person. On first conviction they shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, and with fine which may extend to two thousand rupees.
Section 67 B of Information Technology Act provides for punishments for publishing or transmitting of material depicting children in sexually explicit act, etc. in electronic form. A first offence of publishing, creating, exchanging, downloading or browsing any electronic depiction of children in "obscene or indecent or sexually explicit manner can attract five years in jail and a fine of Rs 10 lakh.