In today’s digital age, the consumption of pornography has become more accessible than ever before. With the widespread availability of the internet, people have easy access to explicit content at their fingertips. This has led to a debate about the morality, legality, and societal impact of pornography consumption. In this article, we will explore the various aspects of pornography and its associated punishments in the legal context.
The Legal Framework
IPC Section 292: Obscenity and Pornography
Under Indian law, the consumption of pornography is regulated by several statutes. IPC Section 292 specifically deals with obscenity and pornography. It states that if an individual privately views pornographic content, it does not constitute an offense. However, if someone shares or displays such content publicly, it is considered illegal.
IT Act Section 67: Online Pornography
The Information Technology Act, under Section 67, addresses the issue of online pornography. If a person watches, downloads, or shares explicit content online, they can face imprisonment and fines. For a first-time offender, the punishment can be up to three years in prison and a fine of up to five lakh rupees.
Child pornography is a grave offense. Under Section 67B of the IT Act, possessing, storing, or sharing explicit content involving minors is punishable by imprisonment and hefty fines. A first-time offender can be sentenced to five years in prison and fined ten lakh rupees.
IPC Sections 292 and 293
IPC Sections 292 and 293 also provide for penalties related to pornography. Under Section 292, selling, distributing, or publicly displaying pornographic material can result in imprisonment for up to two years and a fine of two thousand rupees for a first-time offender. Repeat offenders may face up to five years in prison and a five-thousand-rupee fine.
Section 293 deals with the sale, distribution, or display of obscene material involving minors. A first-time offender can be imprisoned for up to three years and fined two thousand rupees. Subsequent offenses may result in seven years of imprisonment and a five-thousand-rupee fine.
The Kerala High Court’s Perspective
The Kerala High Court has addressed the issue of pornography consumption in a recent ruling. The court stated that viewing pornography privately is not a crime as long as it remains a personal choice and does not harm others. However, if someone shares explicit content with others or displays it publicly, it is deemed illegal.
Justice P.V. Kunhikrishnan, in his judgment, acknowledged that pornography has a long history, but in today’s changing times, where the internet is easily accessible to everyone, watching or not watching porn is a matter of personal freedom. Trying to impose restrictions on personal choices can be akin to encroaching on an individual’s private life.
In conclusion, the legal framework in India is clear about the consumption of pornography. While watching explicit content privately is not considered a crime, sharing it with others or displaying it publicly is illegal and can lead to severe penalties. The Kerala High Court’s ruling reaffirms the importance of personal freedom and choice in this matter.