Watching porn in private time, not an offence: Kerala HC cancels case against man

The high court said that declaring such an act as an offence would amount to intrusion of a person's privacy and interference with his personal choice.
Representational image of Kerala High Court (File Photo| A Sanesh, EPS)
Representational image of Kerala High Court (File Photo| A Sanesh, EPS)

KOCHI:  Watching a pornographic video in a person’s privacy without exhibiting it to others does not amount to an offence under Section 292 (Obscenity) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the Kerala High Court has held. If the accused is trying to circulate, distribute or publicly exhibit any obscene video or photos, then the offence is attracted, the HC said.

Justice P V Kunhikrishnan made the observations while quashing a criminal case registered against a youth in 2016 by the Aluva police for watching a pornographic video on his mobile while standing on the roadside near the Aluva Palace at night. 

The HC observed that a court cannot declare that watching a porn video on one’s mobile or in private amounted to an offence simply because it was the person’s private choice and interfering with the same would amount to the intrusion of privacy. It said pornography has been in practice for centuries.

Parents cautioned against giving phones to children

The new digital age has made it more accessible than ever before. It is available even to children and adults at their fingertips, the HC said. Meanwhile, the court cautioned parents of minors against buying them mobile phones.

“Watching pornography may not be an offence. But if minor children start to watch such videos, which are now accessible on all mobile phones, there will be far-reaching consequences,” the HC said.

The court said innocent parents may give phones to their minor children to make them happy. Instead of giving delicious food made by the mother and a cake-cutting ceremony on birthdays, parents are giving mobile phones with internet access to minor children as gifts to make them happy, the HC said, adding parents should be aware of the danger behind it. 

“Let children watch informative news and videos from their parents’ phones in their presence. Parents should never hand over mobile phones to minors to make them happy, and thereafter complete their daily chores while allowing unsupervised use of the phones by children,” said the HC.

“Let children play cricket or football or other games they like during leisure time. That is necessary for a healthy young generation who are to become the beacons of hope for our nation in future,” the court said.

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