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Crackdown only on child pornography, no plan to ban adult porn sites: Govt to SC

The Central government has no plans to prevent citizens from watching pornography in private, it has told the Supreme Court.


Crackdown only on child pornography, no plan to ban adult porn sites: Govt to SC

New Delhi: The Central government has no plans to prevent citizens from watching pornography in private and that it does not believe in a "totalitarian" state, the Supreme Court was told on Tuesday.

The government, however, told a bench headed by Chief Justice HL Dattu that it has blocked the "porn sites dealing with child pornography" and this is "standard accepted practice" across the globe.

"Child pornography has to be banned. There is no doubt about it. But, it is difficult as the geographical frontiers have now become meaningless. You ban 10 such websites, five new will come up," Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said.

He termed the issue relating to banning of porn sites as "grey area" and said that violation of fundamental right of speech and expression will also arise and hence, it needs a public debate, as per PTI.

“Government supports the right of a person to watch porn in private,” Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told the apex court bench as it began hearing a petition seeking a ban on porn websites.

"The state cannot become the moral police. We cannot peek inside. The entire issue needs larger debate. Every computer and mobile phone have the child lock. It is difficult to stop such things at the source level," Rohatgi said.

“It’s a question of a person’s right to speech and entertainment,” the government said, dispelling doubts that it may be mulling a blanket ban on pornography.

The state cannot be present in every household to check what people were watching in private and interfere with their entertainment, Rohatgi added.

Meanwhile, the central government asked the Internet service providers to sit with authorities to resolve issues relating to the Department of Telecom order on banning porn websites.

The clarification came just days after the Central government imposed a ban on 857 porn websites and asked Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to block access to them.

The government had later, however, asked ISPs to review the ban and allow access to those of the 857 websites which were non-porn.

"The government has asked the ISPs to go through the 857 sites again as the government has received complaints that some of the sites which are banned are of non-pornographic nature," an official source said.

Communications and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had said that the ban was a temporary measure till final orders are taken by the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court had in its observation on the issue on July 8 said that banning such sites would be violation of an individual's right to liberty.

The government ban on porn sites evoked sharp reactions and was slammed from all quarters. The move was even dubbed 'Talibanisation' and netizens on social media accused government of infringing on liberty of individuals.

(With PTI inputs)

Porn ban: Did the government have no other choice than to backtrack on banning adult websites? in Nation on LockerDome

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