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Watching porn in private time without showing it to others not an offence: Kerala HC

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KOCHI, Sept 12: Watching pornographic photographs or videos in one’s private time without
showing it to others is not an offence under the law as it is a matter of personal choice, the Kerala
High Court has held.
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.
The ruling by Justice P V Kunhikrishnan came while quashing a case of obscenity under Section 292
of the Indian Penal Code against a 33-year-old man who was back in 2016 caught by police while
watching porn videos on his mobile phone on the roadside near the Aluva palace here.
The order and ruling came on the accused person’s plea to quash the FIR and the court proceedings
against him in connection with that.
The court said pornography was in practice for centuries and the new digital age has made it more
accessible, even to children.
“The question to be decided in this case is whether a person watching a porn video in his private
time without exhibiting it to others amounts to an offence? A court of law cannot declare that the
same amounts to an offence for the simple reason that it is his private choice and interference with
the same amounts to an intrusion of his privacy,” it said.
The court also noted that there was no allegation that the petitioner (accused) publicly exhibited the
video.
“I am of the considered opinion that watching an obscene photo by a person in his privacy by itself is
not an offence under Section 292 (obscenity) of IPC. Similarly, watching an obscene video by a
person from a mobile phone in his privacy is also not an offence under Section 292 IPC.
“If the accused is trying to circulate or distribute or publicly exhibit any obscene video or photos,
then the offence under Section 292 IPC is attracted,” Justice Kunhikrishnan said.
Therefore, no offence under Section 292 of the IPC is made out against the accused, the court said
and quashed all the proceedings in the magisterial court in connection with the case.
At the same time, Justice Kunhikrishnan also cautioned parents against giving mobile phones with
internet access to children to make them happy.
“The parents should be aware of the danger behind it. Let the children watch informative news and
videos from the mobile phones of their parents in their presence.
“Parents should never hand over mobile phones to minor children to make them happy and
thereafter complete their daily routine works in their house allowing unsupervised use of mobile
phones by children,” the judge said.
Justice Kunhikrishnan said that if minor children end up watching porn videos, which are now
accessible in all mobile phones, “there will be far reaching consequences”.
“Let the children play cricket or football or other games they like during their leisure time. That is
necessary for a healthy young generation who are to become the beacons of hope of our nation in
the future.
“Instead of purchasing food from restaurants through ‘swiggy’ and ‘zomato’, let the children taste
the delicious food made by their mother and let the children play at playgrounds and come back
home to the mesmerising smell of their mother’s food. I leave it there to the wisdom of the parents
of minor children of this society,” the judge said. (PTI)

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