The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court recently granted anticipatory bail to a man who was booked by police for downloading and transmitting child pornographic content last year. The Court upheld that ‘even watching child pornography constitutes an offence’ but granted the bail because the accused was a one-time offender.
Madurai Bench of Madras HC grants anticipatory bail to a man, who was booked by police for downloading & transmitting child pornographic content last year— ANI (@ANI) June 18, 2021
Court says ‘even viewing child pornography constitutes an offence’ but grants bail on grounds that he was one-time offender
Considering the factors that the incident was a one-off incident and the accused had fully cooperated with the police, the judge said that the custodial interrogation of the petitioner was unwarranted. The judge also cited the ongoing COVID-19 situation, stating that arrest is unnecessary and should be avoided. The court granted him bail but asked him to appear before the police as and when asked for interrogation.
The court was hearing an anticipatory bail plea filed by P.G Sam Infant Jones of Madurai. The prosecution had filed a case against him, accusing him of browsing, downloading and sharing child pornographic content with his friend.
While granting anticipatory bail to the youth, the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court observed that the menace of child pornography could only be tackled if inculcate right values to their offspring.
Moral education and Bharatiya Culture could help in tackling the menace of child pornography: Madras HC
The Bench headed by Justice G.R Swaminathan cited Section 43 of the POCSO Act, 2012, which states that the Central and the State governments must take measures to spread public awareness about the provisions of the statute. However, he said this might not be sufficient in getting rid of the scourge plaguing society.
Justice Swaminathan said, “The ‘Big Brother’ watching us may not deter those who are determined to indulge in such acts of perversity. The system also may not be able to prosecute every offender. Therefore, it is only through moral education there can be a way out. It is only the ‘Bharatiya’ (Indian) culture that can act as a bulwark.”
The judge observed that viewing pornography in private does not constitute an offence. However, he added that child pornography falls outside the ambit of this liberty and amounts to criminal prosecution. Section 67-B of the Information Technology Act, 2000, penalises every kind of action about child pornography, the judge said.