A closer look at the laws governing pornography in India

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Businessman Raj Kundra, husband of actress Shilpa Shetty, was arrested by Mumbai police on July 19 in connection with an adult film racket. He was convicted under Articles 420 (deception), 34 (common intent), 292 and 293 (related to obscene and indecent advertisements and displays) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), in addition to the relevant sections of the Computer Law and of the indecent representation of women. Law (of prohibition).

An FIR was registered against Kundra, 45, based on a complaint filed by a woman. Mumbai Police Commissioner Hemant Nagrale said the case against Kundra was registered in February 2021 as a key conspirator regarding the creation of pornographic films and their publication through certain apps.

Watching pornography on personal devices is not illegal (under IPC and computer laws) in India, but sharing / distributing it is, according to a Supreme Court verdict in July 2015.

In August 2015, the Center tasked the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to order Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to block access to 857 porn or adult sites.

Pornography laws

Section 292 says that “something” can be considered obscene if it is obscene or lustful or if it tends to degrade and corrupt another person. The penalty for the first conviction could be up to two years in prison and a fine of up to Rs 2,000; and for the second conviction, it could extend to five years and a fine of up to Rs 5,000.

Article 293 says that anyone who sells, distributes, exhibits or circulates to anyone under the age of 20 (any obscene object as referred to in the last previous section) will be punished. The penalty for the first conviction could be up to three years and a fine of up to 2,000 rupees; and for the second conviction, it could extend to a prison sentence of up to seven years and a fine of up to Rs 5,000.

IPC 354 on indecent exposure of women has subsection 354A relating to the display of pornography against a woman’s will, where the penalty can be imprisonment for up to three years or a fine, or both.

IPC 354D is for pornographic offenses related to collecting images of girls or women from their social networks and is publishable with a sentence of up to three years (five years for the second conviction) and a fine. on conviction.

Section 509 deals with indecent exposure of a woman and is often used with sexual assault. The penalty is imprisonment for up to three years or a fine or both. Section 509A (harassment by a parent) is punishable by up to five years and section 509B (harassment by electronic means) is punishable by six months to two years imprisonment plus a fine.

Section 67 of the Information Technology Act 2000 deals with the publication or transmission of sexually explicit acts in electronic form. The penalty for the first conviction can be up to three years and a fine of up to Rs 5 lakh and the second conviction can result in a sentence of up to five years and a fine of up to Rs 10 lakh.

The amendment to section 67A concerns the electronic transmission of material containing sexually explicit acts. The penalty for the first conviction can be up to five years and a fine of up to Rs 10 lakh and the second conviction can result in a sentence of up to seven years and a fine of up to Rs 10 lakh.

Section 67B concerns child pornography, which is regulated by the Protection of Children Against Sexual Offenses Act (POCSO) and the Computer Act. The punishment is similar to 67A.

Article 66E of the Computer Law provides for penalties for intentional breaches of privacy without the consent of the other person. The penalty could be up to three years in prison or a fine of up to Rs 2 lakh or both.

The Indecent Portrayal of Women (Prohibition) Act 1986 and its Articles 2, 3 and 4 prohibit the indecent portrayal of women in advertisements or in publications, writings, paintings, characters or in any other manner and for related issues.

The penalty for the first conviction under section 3 or 4 is up to two years and a fine of up to 2,000 rupees; and the second conviction carries a sentence of at least six months and a fine of at least Rs 10,000, up to Rs 1 lakh.

First publication: STI


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