Watching porn in private not an offence, rules Kerala HC

The court ruled that watching pornographic content is a person’s private choice and the court cannot intrude into his privacy

Kerala High Court (Photo: NH File Photo)
Kerala High Court (Photo: NH File Photo)
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IANS

The Kerala High Court has quashed criminal proceedings initiated against a man who was arrested by the police from the roadside for watching pornographic material on his phone.

The court ruled that "privately" watching obscene photos or videos on one’s phone without publicly exhibiting the content or distributing others will not attract offence of obscenity under Section 292 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Section 292 of the IPC prohibits the sale, distribution, exhibition, or possession of any obscene object or materials that are lascivious or likely to corrupt and deprave people, with punishment of imprisonment up to two years and a fine for the first conviction, and imprisonment up to five years and a higher fine for subsequent convictions.

The court ruled that watching pornographic content is a person’s private choice and the court cannot intrude into his privacy.

“The question to be decided in this case is whether a person watching a porn video in his private time without exhibiting it to others amounts to an offence? A court of law cannot declare that the same amounts to an offence for the simple reason that it is his private choice, and interference with the same amounts to an intrusion of his privacy," the court ruled.

“Similarly, such act is also not an offence under Section 292 of the IPC. If the accused is trying to circulate or distribute such content, or is publicly exhibiting any obscene video or photo, then alone offence under Section 292 of IPC is attracted,” the court observed.

The court made these observations in a criminal miscellaneous petition filed by a person to quash criminal proceedings initiated against him.

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Published: 13 Sep 2023, 5:14 PM
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