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Shilpa Shetty's Husband Raj Kundra, in Net Over Porn Racket, Faces Uncertain Future. A Look at the Laws in India

Shilpa Shetty tied the knot with Raj Kundra in a lavish ceremony in Khandala on November 22, 2009.

Shilpa Shetty tied the knot with Raj Kundra in a lavish ceremony in Khandala on November 22, 2009.

Husband of Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty, Kundra was nabbed on Monday by the Mumbai police in a case related to alleged creation of porn and publishing them through some apps.

Businessman Raj Kundra’s arrest for the alleged creation of porn has rekindled the debate on pornography in India. Husband of Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty, Kundra was nabbed on Monday by the Mumbai police in a case related to alleged creation of porn and publishing them through some apps and sent to custody till July 23. Kundra, 45, arrested by the Crime Branch after being booked under relevant sections of the IPC and the Information Technology Act, appears to be the key conspirator of the case, said an official. The case was registered on February 4 at the Malwani police station in suburban Mumbai.

News18 explains the concept of pornography in India:

Is anything obscene considered pornography?

Obscenity and Pornography are often used synonymously. But it should be noted that obscenity is a wider umbrella. Obscenity pertains to anything which is immoral and against the sentiments of people, whereas pornography refers to the act of causing sexual excitement through films, pictures or books. Thus, pornography is a subset of obscenity.

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What are the laws against cyber pornography in India?

Legislations to regulate Cyber pornography in India include the Information Technology Act, 2000, Indian Penal Code, Indecent Representation of Women’s act and Young Person’s (Harmful Publication) Act.

Kundra was booked under IPC sections 420 (cheating), 34 (common intention), 292 and 293 (related to obscene and indecent advertisements and displays) besides relevant sections of the IT Act and the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act.

What is Information Technology Act, 2000, and what are the punishments?

Cyber Pornography is neither banned nor legalised under the IT Act, 2000. The IT Act prohibits the production and distribution of cyber pornography but does not prohibit the viewing or downloading of pornographic content if it is not child pornography.

Section 67 of the Information Technology Act, 2000 makes the following acts punishable with imprisonment up to 3 years and a fine up to Rs 5 lakhs.

Section 67A of the Information Technology Act makes publication, transmission and causing to be transmitted and published any material containing sexually explicit act or conduct punishable with imprisonment up to 5 years and a fine up to Rs 10 lakhs.

What about religious texts and those meant for education?

The section 67A of the IT Act does not prohibit books, pamphlets, magazines or pictures which are created for educational purposes or which is kept for religious purposes. Thus, the section does not prohibit the preserving of sculptures that are of historical importance.

What about child pornography?

Section 67B of the IT Act, 2000 makes publishing, transmitting, viewing or downloading child pornography illegal. According to Section 67B, any person who has not attained the age of 18 years is a child.

What constitutes child pornography?

Child pornography includes publishing or transmitting or causing to publish or transmit any material electronically that depicts the children engaged in a sexually explicit act or conduct.

Depicting children in an obscene or sexually explicit manner, inducing children to online relationship with one or more children for and on a sexually explicit act, or in a manner that may offend a reasonable adult on the computer resource, facilitating child abuse online and recording own abuse or that of others pertaining to sexually explicit act with others comes under child porn.

What are the sections that define pornography?

Section 292 of IPC prohibits the sale of obscene material. Section 292(1) explains the meaning of “obscenity” and Section 292(2) explains the punishment for sale, distribution, etc. of obscene materials.

What is Indecent Representation of Women’s Act, 1986?

Indecent Representation of Women’s Act, 1986 seeks to prohibit the representation of women or any part of her body in an indecent form provided that such representation will injure the public morality or morals.

And what is POCSO Act?

The POCSO Act, 2012 was specifically enacted to prevent children from sexual offences. The act protects children from sexual assault, sexual harassment, and pornography. The act aims to protect the interests and well-being of the children.

For the purpose of the act, any person who has not attained the age of 18 years is a child. The Act is gender-neutral.

What led to the porn boom in India?

Cheap data prices drew more and more Indians towards viewing pornography on smartphones.

Data from Pornhub reveal that India, home to the website’s fourth-largest audience by country, logged the biggest increase in its mobile traffic share in recent years, jumping up over 121 per cent from 2013 to 2017. The adult site attributes this leap to the increasing popularity of “inexpensive and unlimited cellular plans.”

Did more people watch porn during the lockdown?

In what is otherwise banned, a report by IBTimes.com claimed that several porn sites were accessible during the lockdown.

A popular porn website’s Vice President told The Print that traffic from India started increasing in ‘early February’.

Reports of VPNs or proxy blockers witnessing spike in download also surfaced.

But what about watching porn in India?

In July 2015, the Supreme Court of India, made a statement saying viewing pornography indoors in the privacy of one’s home is perfectly legal and doesn’t count as a criminal offence.

In August 2015, the Indian government banned access to 857 porn sites and instructed the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to issue an order to internet service providers (ISPs) to block access to these 857 adult sites.

On October 27 of 2018, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) instructed five of the largest Internet Service Providers of India to ban 827 pornographic websites from their network.

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first published:July 20, 2021, 14:11 IST