Not for moral policing: Centre

But child porn sites have to be blocked, Rohatgi tells apex court

After blocking over 850 porn websites, the Union government on Monday told the Supreme Court it was not a “totalitarian state” bent on conducting moral policing.

The government clarified its stand on the controversial porn ban, saying ‘it does not want to intrude into the private spaces and bedrooms of citizens’ if somebody wanted to watch porn in the privacy of his room.

However, Attorney-General Mukul Rohatgi made it clear before a three-judge Bench led by Chief Justice H.L. Dattu that child pornography was a strict ‘no-no’, with India being no exception from the developed world in banning child pornography.

“Child porn sites have to be blocked,” Mr. Rohatgi said.

He said the need for a law banning other forms of porn was a topic for a larger debate, probably in Parliament or a public forum and not in court.

‘Totalitarian state’

“We cannot become a totalitarian state. Somebody wants to watch porn in the privacy of his room, can we prevent that? We are now talking Digital India reaching 100 crore people. We are at a stage when the Prime Minister has asked citizens to put what he should say in his Independence Day speech … we can’t stop people from watching this and that,” Mr. Rohatgi submitted.

The A-G detailed how difficult a task it was to track and stop ban violators with fast disappearing geographical barriers.

A matter of privacy

“Two adults want to watch something they feel is entertainment, what is the role of the State in this? We cannot be present in everybody’s bedroom … In the old days, there were magazines. All one had to do was stop the distribution of the publication.

“Now how can we stop someone from watching porn on their mobile phones? We cannot block it,” he said.

‘Protect children’

He said Internet users should protect children in their families by liberally making use of parental controls and child locks on their computer systems.

Software to be developed

Mr. Rohatgi said similar software was being developed to be used in mobile phones also.

“Steps have to be taken to not stop these contents at the gateway of the country, but at your end, on your mobile phones,” Mr. Rohatgi said.

Source: The Hindu

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#11, #2015, #august

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