Law must keep pace with technology to check pornography websites: SC

Law must keep pace with technology to check pornography websites: SC

Law must keep pace with technology to check pornography websites: SC

The Supreme Court Friday noted that technology always moves at a pace faster than the law yet there has to be a co-ordination between law and governance to match the pace of technological changes to check pornography websites.

A bench of Chief Justice R.M. Lodha, Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman made the observation as Additional Solicitor General L. Nageshwara Rao, pointing to the difficulties in blocking pornography websites, told it that when one is blocked, another surfaces.

The magnitude of the task can be gauged from the fact that that there are about 40 million pornography websites with their other links, the court was told.

Observing that law is helpless, Justice Joseph said that pornography is prurient which affects the mind and the morals of those who are watching it and obscene visuals.

As senior counsel Vijay Panjwani said that in last 18 months since the court started hearing the PIL seeking the blocking of the pornography websites not one website has been blocked, Nageshwara Rao told the court that government has set up an advisory committee to suggest the way to block such websites.

He also saidf that the government was asking the social media organisations to locate their servers in India so that blocking would be effective.

The court sought an update from the advisory committee at the next date of hearing, and wanted to know what were the blocking rules and if government had any mechanism to block such websites.

It said that the advisory committee should focus on the prayer in the PIL seeking the blocking of pornographic websites.

PIL petitioner Kamlesh Vaswani has urged the court to direct the central government to "block pornography websites, platforms, links, or down loading by whatever other internet means or name in order to prevent easy access whether in private or public".

In an indication that it would like the government to act in the matter of blocking the pornography websites, the court said that it could not lay down the laws.

The extent of objectionable material that is shown in pornography websites was highlighted by Panjwani when he told the court "pornography shown on these websites is not just obscene but an aggravated form of obscenity. What is shown in Khajuraho and Ajanta Ellora is just child's play". 

Panjwani told the court that even Britain has banned 12 specific activities on the websites.

Pointing to the cases of rapes that are reported on daily basis, Vaswani said that in most recent cases, the accused have told police of "watching pornography on mobile phones before committing the crime of rape".

In his petition, Vaswani said that the "porn films and videos are produced in USA, Britain, Europe mainly. In India, such trash is produced in southern States as well as in other states. The entire activity is illegal violating several laws. Porn films, videos are uploaded on internet. The websites are either free of cost or payable".

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