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SC gives MHA 4 weeks to reply on PIL seeking ban on 850 porn sites in India


The Supreme Court Wednesday gave four weeks to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to respond to public interest litigation (PIL) seeking blocking of around 850 pornographic websites. A bench headed by Chief Justice HL Dattu gave the direction after Centre’s counsel additional solicitor general Pinky Anand said the government was willing to take action against the “offending websites.”

On her request the court asked PIL petitioner, advocate Kamlesh Vaswani, to give the list of websites sought to be blocked. It would now hear the case after six weeks.

Vaswani’s counsel, advocate Vijay Panjwani, submitted an affidavit by a woman whose estranged husband has posted videos of the couple’s sexual acts on various websites. This was subsequent to the woman filing a dowry harassment case against him in Mumbai.

The Kanpur-based complainant has sought blocking of the websites. The Mumbai and Delhi police failed to take action on her complaint, she stated in her affidavit.

The FIR in Mumbai was quashed on the condition her husband would not upload the videos. She said Google had announced its new policy on revenge porn under which it can censor unauthorised nude photos from its internet search engine. The woman’s verbal and written requests have produced no results.

Centre’s latest stand is a departure from its earlier submission that it was struggling to block the sites. It had during one of the hearings in the past had said there were several wesbites and when one is blocked multiple similar sites spring up.

But, SC has kept the PIL pending and voices its concern over the mushrooming pornographic sites. It has called for a solution to “hydra-headed” problem. “Human mind is very fertile and technology runs faster then law. Law has to keep pace with technology,” the court said, adding the laws in India were there to tackle the menace but the implementation was weak. “You should enforce the law strictly. It should be as potent as the law itself,” it said.

The petition filed in the SC that crimes against women are fuelled by porn, and referred to the fatal gang-rape of a Delhi student on a moving bus in Delhi in December 2012.   The accused had allegedly watched porn on their cellphones before the horrific assault.

Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have already told the Supreme Court that it is practically and technically impossible for them to block pornographic sites without orders from the court and government and they cannot be made liable for objectionable contents of the sites.

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