Uttarakhand HC takes action where SC faltered

Uttarakhand High Court on 27th September 2018 passed the order of making mandatory blocking of all pornographic sites. The court in its order refered to notification issued by the Center in 2015 in this regard. A Bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Rajiv Sharma observed:

Though the directions were issued to all the Internet Service License Holders, but till date, all the Intermediaries have not followed the same in letter and spirit. The sites are readily available to the children to view obscene and indecent acts, including pornography. It was expected from all the Internet Service License Holders that they would block these sites to protect the children of impressionable age. The psyche of the children of impressionable age is also affected, which, at times, results in commission of crimes. The entire society, including parents, teachers, and school management is responsible to safeguard the interest of the children.
The court had taken suo motu cognizance of news reports pertaining to gang rape of a minor child in a boarding school in Dehradun. It noted that instead of taking prompt action the School management tried to cover up the matter. However, FIRs have now been registered against the four accused students under Sections 376 and 201 of the Indian Penal Code and various provisions of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act, 2012. The court now took judicial notice of the increase in such instances, and was told during the hearing that as per news reports, the accused boys watched pornographic movies before sexually assaulting the minor girl. “Unlimited access to these pornographic sites is required to be blocked / curbed to avoid adverse influence on the impressionable mind of the children,” the court then asserted. The court gave the the following direct order: i) There shall be a direction to all the Internet Service License Holders to punctually obey the Notification dated 31st July, 2015 and to block the publication or transmission of obscene material in any electronic form, transmitting of material containing sexually explicit act or conduct and also publishing or transmitting of material depicting children in sexually explicit act or conduct forthwith. ii) Respondent no.4 is directed to suspend the licenses of the Internet Service License Holders under Section 25 of the Information Technology Act, 2000, if the Notification dated 31st July, 2015 is not complied with. iii) Respondent no. 4 is directed to ensure due compliance of the orders. iv) Respondent State is directed to ensure completion of the inquiry and investigation within a period of eight weeks from today and, thereafter, to put up the Challan in accordance with law in FIR No.390 of 2018, registered at P.S. Sahaspur, District Dehradun. In 2015, the Supreme Court ordered the government to ‘develop a mechanism’ to block pornography on the internet. The petitioner in that case, Kamlesh Vaswani, attached as annexure, a list of 857 sites that he wanted blocked. In response to the court’s order, Pinky Anand, the Additional Solicitor General of India, forwarded that list to the government, which promptly ordered internet service providers to block them. Following a public outcry, the porn ban was rolled back, with the government issuing a circular that said that only child porn needed to be banned. That circular effectively withdrew the previous ban, and allowed ISPs to unblock the 857 sites. This case is still pending in the Supreme Court. The Uttarakhand High Court acted on its own to revive the order — it issued this order suo motu. Pointing to rape incidents, one of which involved four students raping a minor in a school, the court argued that porn access was key in enabling such behaviour. Reliance Jio was the first service provider to block Porn sites based on court order. Airtel, Vodafone, Idea & BSNL are expected to follow suit. October 27, 2018 update: Three days after the center directed Internet service providers to block 827 porn websites, the Uttarakhand High Court(HC) on Thursday directed the State chief Secretary to extensively publicize the government portal for reporting sites that contain sexually explicit act or content within 24 hours. the portal http://www.cybercrime.gov.in will be advertised in electronic and print media, internet and television so that residents are encouraged to report use of banned websites. Inputs/ References:
  1. https://www.medianama.com/2018/10/223-uttarakhand-hc-2015-porn-ban/
  2. https://www.livelaw.in/uttarakhand-hc-directs-ban-on-porn-websites-suspension-of-internet-service-licence-on-non-compliance-read-order/
  3. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/publicise-portal-to-report-porn-sites-in-24-hours-uttarakhand-hc-to-government/articleshow/66367956.cms
  4. http://www.cybercrime.gov.in
  5. https://hindi.gizbot.com/news/airtel-voda-also-ban-porn-sites-after-jio-016891.html

One thought on “Uttarakhand HC takes action where SC faltered

  1. SureshKrShukla November 11, 2018 / 6:52 pm

    Following a public outcry, the porn ban was rolled back, with the government issuing a circular that said that only child porn needed to be banned.

    This is not true. This is display teeth of elephant.

    The inner teeth are bribe from telcos (especially Airtel). Huge porn data drives sales like crazy.


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