The Rajya Sabha has been petitioned to amend the Information Technology Act in order to make private viewing of pornography a criminal offence. At present, the Act criminalizes only the circulation of pornographic material.
Tell your government that they cannot encroach into the private domain with the enactment of such draconian measures.
The Committee on Petitions of Rajya Sabha is considering a petition seeking to curb online pornography in India. Amongst the hugely fallacious assumptions of the petition is the assertion that India's population is "getting digressed, distorted and distressed on account of the growing free sex culture through cyber pornography" and that cyber pornography "distorts social harmony and balance and creates an atmosphere of destruction which leads people to social and family dissolution". In effect, the petition:
1) Asks for an invasion of our constitutional guarantee of privacy, by way of regulating what individuals view in the private sphere of their homes.
2) Legitimizes the violation of our constitutional right to free expression which includes the right to access and receive a diversity of opinions.
3) Disregards the wealth of material which proves the lack of a causal linkage between pornography and perceived effects such as violence against women.
4) Fails to acknowledge the manner in which pornography can serve as an empowering form of sexual expression.
Sign this petition to voice your protest against this blatantly regressive conservative agenda. Tell your lawmakers that you won't stand for state intrusion in your private life.
- Rajya Sabha
Dismiss the Petition to Criminalize Possession of Pornography
Dear Member of Parliament,
We write to you in response to the petition of Jain Acharya Vijay Ratnasundersuri along with three others and co-signed by Rajya Sabha MP Shri Vijay N. Darda. We object to the petition's contention to make viewing of online pornography an offence. We also note that this petition exists concurrently to a writ filed before the Supreme Court asking for a similar ban.The Information Technology Act clearly allows for private viewing of pornography, a position that has been confirmed by the Bombay High Court in 2010 where it stated that simpliciter viewing of an obscene object is not an offence.
The Constitution of India guarantees its citizens the right to privacy. Indian courts have recognized the right to privacy as part of the right to life and personal liberty under Article 21. As expressed by the Delhi High Court in Naz Foundation v. Union of India, the way in which one gives expression to one's sexuality is at the core of private intimacy. If in expressing one's sexuality, one acts consensually and without harming the other, invasion of that precint will be a breach of privacy. The Constitution further provides Indian citizens with the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression. With the spread of the Internet, we are able to enjoy this freedom to the fullest.
In asking for an amendment to the Information Technology Act, 2000 by way of criminalizing private possession of pornography, the petition asks for an invasion of our constitutional guarantee of privacy. Through regulating what individuals view in the private sphere of their homes, it also legitimizes the violation of our constitutional right to free expression which includes the right to access and receive a diversity of opinions.
We further assert that the petition misconstrues the effects of viewing pornography. It blatantly disregards the wealth of material which proves that there is no link between pornography and perceived effects such as violence against women. On the contrary, there exist several studies to demonstrate just the reverse: for instance, the incidence of rape in the United States has declined 85% in the past 25 years while access to pornography has become freely available to individuals through dissemination on the internet. The Petition also fails to understand how pornography is in fact an important form of sexual expression that may prove to be beneficial by way of challenging traditional views about femininity and empowering women to shape their own identities as sexual beings.
We thus appeal to you to reject this draconian petition which severely impinges on our constitutional rights.
Alternative Law Forum started this petition with a single signature, and now has 643 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.