Supreme Court Slams Madras High Court's Controversial Child Pornography Order

Supreme Court Slams Madras High Court's Controversial Child Pornography Order

The high court had, on January 11, quashed the criminal case against S Harish under the POCSO Act, 2012 and the IT Act, 2000.

FPJ News ServiceUpdated: Tuesday, March 12, 2024, 12:17 PM IST
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Supreme Court of India | File

The Supreme Court on Monday termed as “atrocious” a Madras High Court ruling that mere downloading and watching child pornography is not an offence under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO Act) and the Information Technology Act of 2000 (IT Act) and agreed to hear a plea challenging the ruling. “This (the high court judgement) is atrocious.

Supreme Court Slams Single Judge Ruling By Madras HC

How can the single judge say this? Issue notice returnable in three weeks,” Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud said as a bench led by him and also comprising Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra took note of the submissions of senior advocate HS Phoolka that the high court judgement was contrary to the laws.

Phoolka was appearing for two petitioner organisations, Just Rights for Children Alliance of Faridabad and the New Delhi-based Bachpan Bachao Andolan, both of which work for the welfare of children. The high court had, on January 11, quashed the criminal case against S Harish under the POCSO Act, 2012 and the IT Act, 2000.

Harish Charged Over Child Pornography

Harish was charged with downloading on his mobile phone pornographic content involving children. “To constitute an offence under Section 67-B of Information Technology Act, 2000, the accused person must have published, transmitted, created material depicting children in a sexually explicit act or conduct.

A careful reading of this provision does not make watching child pornography, per se, an offence under Section 67- B of Information Technology Act, 2000,” the high court had said.

Supreme Court's Concern Over Child Pornography

It had, however, expressed concern over children watching pornography. Viewing pornography can have negative consequences on teenagers down the line, affecting both their psychological and physical well-being, it had said. The SC sought the response of S Harish, a resident of Chennai, and the two police officers concerned of Tamil Nadu.

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