Tamil Nadu

Menace of child pornography can be tackled only with moral education, says Madras HC

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The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court, while granting anticipatory bail to a youth who apprehended arrest for sharing child pornographic content, has observed that the menace of child pornography can be tackled only if all inculcate the right values.

Justice G.R. Swaminathan observed that Section 43 of the POCSO Act, 2012, says the Central and the State governments must take measures to spread public awareness about the provisions of the statute. However, this alone may not be sufficient.

The judge observed, “That the ‘Big Brother’ watching us may not deter those who are determined to indulge in such acts of perversity. The system also may not be able to prosecute every offender. Therefore, it is only through moral education there can be a way out. It is only the ‘Bharatiya’ (Indian) culture that can act as a bulwark”.

The court was hearing an anticipatory bail petition filed by P.G. Sam Infant Jones of Madurai. The case of the prosecution was that he had browsed, downloaded and shared child pornographic content with his friend.

The judge said that viewing pornography privately would not constitute an offence. Offence is an act that is forbidden by law and made punishable. That is the definition found in Section 40 of the IPC. As on date, there is no provision prohibiting such private acts.

There are some who even elevate it as falling within one’s right to free expression and privacy. But child pornography falls outside this circle of freedom. Section 67-B of the Information Technology Act, 2000, penalises every kind of act pertaining to child pornography, the judge said.

The court took note of the fact that the occurrence took place a year ago and it appeared to be a one-off act. The petitioner had handed over his mobile phone and SIM card to the police.

Considering these factors, the judge observed that custodial interrogation of the petitioner was not warranted. Also, considering the COVID-19 situation, the judge said that unless necessary arrest should be avoided. The court asked him to appear before the police as and when required for interrogation.

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Printable version | Jul 26, 2021 2:34:26 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/menace-of-child-pornography-can-be-tackled-only-with-moral-education-says-madras-hc/article34838803.ece

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