Child Pornography Bill
Author: Shubham Mathur, HPNLU.
Child pornography is publishing and transmitting obscene material of children in electronic form. In recent years child pornography has increased due to the easy access of the internet, & easily available videos on the internet. Child pornography is the most heinous crime which occurs and has led to various other crimes such as sex tourism, sexual abuse of the child, etc.
Child pornography laws provide severe penalties for producers and distributors in almost all Western societies, usually including incarceration, with shorter duration of sentences for non-commercial distribution depending on the extent and content of the material distributed. Convictions for possessing child pornography also usually include prison sentences, but those sentences are often converted to probation for first-time offenders.
CHILD PORNOGRAPHY IN INDIA
Child pornography is a crime in India. Information Technology Act, 2000 & Indian Penal Code, 1860 provides protection from child pornography. The child is the person who is below the age of 18 years. In February 2009, the Parliament of India passed the Information Technology Bill which made creation and transmission of child pornography illegal. The newly passed Information Technology Bill is set to make it illegal to not only create and transmit child pornography in any electronic form but even to browse it. The punishment for a first offence of publishing, creating, exchanging, downloading or browsing any electronic depiction of children in an “obscene or indecent or sexually explicit manner” can attract five years in jail and a fine of Rs 10 lakh.
Section 67 of the existing act deals with “publishing obscene information in electronic form”. It is a generally worded section that does not specifically define “pornography” or make it an offence, and does not mention “child pornography” at all. But in its amended avatar, Section 67B proposes specifically to punish involvement in sexually explicit online or electronic content that depicts children. It will also be an offence to “cultivate, entice or induce children to online relationship with other children for a sexual act.”
Punishment for first conviction with imprisonment which may extend to 3 years & fine which may extend to 5 lakhs rupees. And for subsequent offence imprisonment which may extend to 5 years & fine which may extend to 10 lakhs rupees. Section 292 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 does not per se deal with obscenity online.
Developing a precise definition of the term ‘obscenity’ is difficult. What may be considered as obscene in one country may not be considered as obscene in another. It mainly depends on the moral and ethical values of the people who belong to a specific country. However, the generic definition of obscenity refers to an act or speech or item that is likely to corrupt the morality of the general public because of its indecency or lewdness in content or form. The exhibition of something offensive to modesty or decency or expression of unchaste or lustful ideas or being indecent or lewd is considered to be obscene, in most countries. In my opinion, to control child pornography in India we should completely ban porn sites. This stringent action can solve the problem to a larger extent. This would give us time to think and plan some new ways to eradicate child pornography from India. Depiction of minors, both real and virtual, as well as adults appearing to be minors, in electronic child pornography, should be prevented by Indian law. Stringent measures must be taken to combat such heinous abuse.