Wednesday, Nov 26, 2014

Find ways to check access to porn sites, Supreme Court tells Centre

Common good and public interest have, thus, suffered heavily, as there was no fair and transparent procedure, all resulting in unfair distribution of national wealth: SC A bench led by Chief Justice of India R M Lodha said ways would have to be devised so that law is not always defeated by technological advancements although technology is supposed to move ahead.
Express News Service | New Delhi | Posted: August 30, 2014 1:06 am | Updated: August 30, 2014 7:04 am

The Supreme Court Friday appealed for co-ordination between technology on one hand and law and governance on the other in order to control unrestricted access of pornographic materials on the Internet.

Even as the government expressed its inability to block pornographic websites, a bench led by Chief Justice of India R M Lodha said ways would have to be devised so that law is not always defeated by technological advancements although technology is supposed to move ahead.

The government’s counsel told the bench, also comprising Justices Kurian Joseph and Rohinton F Nariman, that there were difficulties in blocking pornography websites for, when one is blocked, another surfaces. The magnitude of the task can be gauged from the fact that there are about 40 million pornography websites with their other links, the court was told.

Observing that law-enforcement agencies appeared to be helpless, Justice Joseph said pornography is prurient, which affects the mind and the morals of those who are watching it.

He further pointed out that some of the foreign countries had developed means to regulate access to pornographic materials on the Internet and that Indian authorities could take a cue.

At this, the government said it has set up an advisory committee to suggest ways to block such websites. The court then sought an update from the advisory committee at the next date of hearing, and wanted to know what were the blocking rules and if the government had any mechanism to block such websites. It said the advisory committee should focus on the prayer in the PIL seeking the blocking of pornographic websites.

Petitioner Kamlesh Vaswani has urged the court to direct the central government to “block pornography websites, platforms, links, or downloading by whatever other Internet means or name in order to prevent easy access whether in private or public”.

Meanwhile, another bench also issued a notice to the Centre on a plea alleging that the Internet service providers, without being heard, are forced by the government to remove “objectionable” contents posted on their websites by third parties. The court was hearing a plea of the Internet and Mobile Association of India.

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