3 years

Hazy Picture

Porn Possession

Tagged Under -
Page 1 of 1
When it comes to porn, the law is substituted by a perception of morality

Last week in Mumbai, three railway policemen headed down the wrong track, and harassed and then extorted Rs 8,000 from an IIT student after claiming that his phone contained porn. In the student’s account, he was shackled and intimidated, and was released in return for the money. For most people, the matter would have ended there. But the student lodged a complaint, and the three extortionist constables were arrested.

The reason why intimidation and harassment are possible when it comes to porn is that the law is substituted by the perception of morality. This raises questions. What exactly is legal? What really is prohibited?

Well, the police clearly overstepped. Possessing porn is not illegal. Producing or distributing it is. The student was doing neither. He told The Times of India, “I was stopped by two policemen. One of them asked me to open my bag... while the other took my phone and started playing with the keypad.” They then took him to a nearby holding room where they revealed that they had found porn on his phone. When he asked to see his phone, “They showed me the phone for a fleeting second. I didn’t notice anything. Then they pulled out a belt and pair of handcuffs.”

While the rules for what is permissible or not are laid out clearly, legislators are often proactive in blocking material their voters find objectionable. An example is Savita Bhabhi, the porn cartoon strip featuring a… bhabhi. As the strip gained popularity, there were concerns that it would sexualise bhabhis.
The policemen who detained the student got one thing slightly right: they told him the offence carried a fine of Rs 1 lakh. The fine for disseminating porn goes up to Rs 1 lakh. Here’s what they didn’t take into account—the penalty for blackmail is up to two years’ imprisonment with a possible fine to boot.