The Supreme Court on Monday gave time to the government to suggest ways to ban child pornography in all its forms and took on record the Centre’s earlier direction to internet service providers to block porn sites. “In pursuance to our earlier order, some suggestions have been filed. The Centre has sought two weeks time to file its suggestions. Put up the matter for further hearing in the week commencing from April 18,” a bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra said.
Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand, appearing for the Centre, said due to holidays, the meeting of concerned departments could not be held and sought two weeks to file suggestions on the issue of banning child pornography. The bench, also comprising Justice Shiva Kirti Singh, took on record the suggestions given by the advocate Vijay Panjwani appearing on behalf of petitioner Kamlesh Vaswani to block the pornographic sites, especially those containing child pornographic contents. Panjwani also placed on record, the government’s last year’s order in which Internet Service Providers were directed to block websites containing pornographic content, submitting that similar steps are required to be taken to ban such websites containing child pornographic materials. The apex court had on February 26, asked the government to suggest ways to ban child pornography saying the nation cannot “afford to carry on any experiment” in the name of “liberty or freedom of speech and expression”. It had said that innocent children cannot be made prey to this kind of painful situation and a nation cannot afford to carry on any experiment on children in the name of liberty or for that matter freedom of speech and expression. It had asked the government to seek advice from experts and suggestions from the National Commission for Women (NCW) on banning of websites dealing with adult and child pornography. A women lawyers’ body had earlier moved the apex court seeking blocking of all porn websites, saying that pornography “corrupts” the mind of the young generation and leads them to commit crime against women and children. The intervention application filed by the SCWLA had come after the Centre’s decision to lift the ban on 857 porn sites. On August 10, last year, the government had told the Supreme Court that it does not believe in a “totalitarian” state and cannot become moral police. It had termed the issue relating to banning of porn sites as a “grey area” and said that violation of fundamental right of speech and expression will also arise and hence, the matter needed public debate. The petitioner had pleaded that although watching obscene videos is not an offence, pornographic sites should be banned as they were one of the major causes for crimes against women. “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 are increasing. It is a matter of serious concern that pre-pubescent children are being raped,” it had said.
SOURCE: THE INDIAN EXPRESS