Pornographic and Laws in India: Basics Explained

Under many provisions under the Indian Penal Code(IPC), the Information Technology(IT) Act and the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, producing pornographic movies in India is an offense.

Section 292 says that ‘something’ can be deemed to be obscene if it is lewd or lustful or if it tends to degrade and corrupt another person. According to this section, something shall be deemed as obscene if it is lascivious or appeals to the voyeuristic interest. Under its many provisions which bar selling, renting, distributing any such content, the section says whoever “takes part in or receives profits from any business in the course of which he knows or has reason to believe that any such obscene objects are for any of the purposes aforesaid, made, produced, purchased, kept, imported, exported, conveyed, publicly exhibited or in any manner put into circulation shall be punished.

The punishment for the first conviction could extend 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.

Section 293 says that whoever sells, distributes, exhibits, or circulates to any person under the age of 20 years (any such obscene object as is referred to in the last preceding section) shall be punished.

Section 67 in the IT Act whoever “publishes or transmits or causes to be published or transmitted in the electronic form, any material which is lascivious or appeals to the prurient interest or if its effect is such as to tend to deprave and corrupt persons who are likely, having regard to all relevant circumstances, to read, see or hear the matter contained or embodied in it, shall be punished”.

Section 67A amendment relates to electronic transmission of material containing sexually explicit acts.It seeks punishment for anyone who ‘publishes or transmits or causes to be published or transmitted in the electronic form’ any obscene material.

Section 67B is with respect to child pornography, which is governed under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and IT Act. The punishment is similar to 67A.

The Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act 1986 says no person shall publish, or cause to be published, or arrange or take part in the publication or exhibition of, any advertisement which contains indecent representation of women in any form.

The Supreme Court of India, in a case, made a statement saying viewing pornography indoors in the privacy of one’s home is perfectly legal and doesn’t count as a criminal offense. Watching pornography on personal devices is not illegal (as per IPC and IT Acts) in India but sharing/distributing it is, as per a Supreme Court verdict in July 2015.



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