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Madras high court moots moral education to tackle child pornography menace | India News

MADURAI: Granting anticipatory bail to a man named P G Sam Infant Jones who was booked for downloading and transmitting child pornographic material through his email and Facebook account using his phone, the Madras high court observed that the menace of child pornography can be tackled only if all of people inculcate the right values through moral education.
Justice G R Swaminathan observed that viewing pornography privately would not constitute an offence. As on date, there is no provision prohibiting such private acts. There are some who even elevate it as falling within one’s right to free expression and privacy. But child pornography falls outside this circle of freedom.
The judge said Section 67-B of the Information Technology Act penalises every kind of act pertaining to child pornography. Section 43 of the POCSO Act mandates the Centre and the state government to take measures to spread public awareness about the provisions of the statute. But this alone may not be sufficient.
“The system also may not be able to prosecute every offender. Therefore, it is only through moral education that there can be a way out. It is only the Bharatiya culture that can act as a bulwark. The menace of child pornography can be tackled only if all of us inculcate the right values,” observed the judge.
The judge said that Nanjil Naadan, a well-known writer, in his article while referring to a Thirukkural had stated that the expression ‘children’ need not be confined to one’s own children. It should encompass all children. He emphatically states that we should be compassionate towards any child and we should ensure that no child is sexually exploited.
“I only wish the petitioner, who ironically has been named as ‘Infant,’ reads the above essay and imbibes the sentiments expressed therein,” observed the judge.
The judge further observed that we are in pandemic times and that unless necessary, arrest should be avoided. “Of course, child pornography is a very serious issue warranting a firm approach. But I would make a distinction between a one- time consumer and those who transmit or propagate or display or distribute in the digital domain,” observed the judge.
Taking into consideration the fact that the petitioner, who completed ME degree and is currently pursuing PhD, had handed over his mobile phone, sim card and was cooperating with the investigation, pursuant to the earlier direction of this court, the judge said that custodial interrogation of the petitioner was not warranted in this case.

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