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Crime and pornishment

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On the day after two ministers in the government of Karnataka were caught inside the Karnataka assembly watching a video of a gang rape, the media sort of white-washed it by calling the material merely pornography. The two BJP ministers, Karnataka Co-operation Minister Laxman Savadi and Karnataka Women and Child Welfare Minister C. C. Patil, resigned and were debarred from the House.

Rediff reports what could be even more damning:

When contacted, Savadi said that he had done no wrong. He had said that there was no question of him resigning his assembly seat.

When asked about the clip, he said it was not a porn clip in the actual sense.

“The clip was forwarded by my colleague (ports minister) Krishna Palemar. It was about a woman who was dancing in Iran and was later raped by four men,” he said.

Disgust is an appropriate reaction to gang rape and people who watch it. However, since it was forwarded by a minister, he could well have run afoul of a well-known law. Section 67 of the Indian Information Technology Act of 2000 forbids publishing of pornography:

Whoever publishes or transmits or causes to be published in the electronic form, any material which is lascivious or appeals to the prurient interest or if its effect is such as to tend to deprave and corrupt persons who are likely, having regard to all relevant circumstances, to read, see or hear the matter contained or embodied in it, shall be punished on first conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five years and with fine which may extend to one lakh rupees and in the event of a second or subsequent conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years and also with fine which may extend to two lakh rupees.

This law was amended in 2009 to read:

Whoever publishes or transmits or causes to be published in the electronic form, any material which is lascivious or appeals to the prurient interest or if its effect is such as to tend to deprave and corrupt persons who are likely, having regard to all relevant circumstances, to read, see or hear the matter contained or embodied in it, shall be punished on first conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two three years and with fine which may extend to five lakh rupees and in the event of a second or subsequent conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five years and also with fine which may extend to ten lakh rupees.

It does not matter if this was not porn. Other sections of the same law provide penalties for publishing sexualy explicit conduct or child pornography. The IT law also provides penalties for viewing, and even searching for, child pornography:

Whoever,-

(a) publishes or transmits or causes to be published or transmitted material in any electronic form which depicts children engaged in sexually explicit act or conduct or

(b) creates text or digital images, collects, seeks, browses, downloads, advertises, promotes, exchanges or distributes material in any electronic form depicting children in obscene or indecent or sexually explicit manner or

(c) cultivates, entices or induces children to online relationship with one or more children for and on sexually explicit act or in a manner that may offend a reasonable adult on the computer resource or

(d) facilitates abusing children online or

(e) records in any electronic form own abuse or that of others pertaining to sexually explicit act with children,

shall be punished on first conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five years and with a fine which may extend to ten lakh rupees and in the event of second or subsequent conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years and also with fine which may extend to ten lakh rupees:

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Written by Arhopala Bazaloides

February 8, 2012 at 4:40 pm

One Response

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  1. […] people’s movement. Politicians and political parties allowed and thrived on gender violence, tolerated and encouraged gender bias, and did nothing over the last decades to address this critical problem. […]


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