Supreme Court rejects plea advocating link between watching porn and sex crimes; says child sex abuse is a crime by itself

Supreme Court rejects plea advocating link between watching porn and sex crimes; says child sex abuse is a crime by itself


A Bench of Chief Justice of India U.U. Lalit and S. Ravindra Bhat said investigation into individual cases by the police would reveal whether or not viewing of pornography had triggered the crime.

A Bench of Chief Justice of India U.U. Lalit and S. Ravindra Bhat said investigation into individual cases by the police would reveal whether or not viewing of pornography had triggered the crime.

The Supreme Court on Monday did not entertain a plea advocating a link between watching internet porn and sex crimes, including child abuse.

A Bench of Chief Justice of India U.U. Lalit and S. Ravindra Bhat said child sex abuse is a crime by itself. Investigation into individual cases by the police would reveal whether or not viewing of pornography had triggered the crime. That aspect would be part of evidence of each individual case.

“Seeking a judicial declaration from the Supreme Court that porn on the Internet has led to child sex crimes would be equal to giving a go-ahead to online surveillance.”

The court said the government, if necessary, has enough material in its arsenal to ensure that criminal material is not uploaded on the Internet. It may be “unmanageable” for the court to do so.

“So your final goal is that such material should not uploaded… Can a court intervene? What you are advocating may be surveillance and collection of data…” the Bench addressed senior advocate Nalin Kohli, who is the petitioner-in-person.

The court made it clear that it was worried where such surveillance of the Internet, if allowed, “may lead to”.

“This is a tiger if it gets loose, problem is at what point we control it… The issue of the link between viewing pornography and crime is individual case specific,” Chief Justice Lalit observed.

Justice S. Ravindra Bhat, on the Bench, referred to how the U.S. Supreme Court had in the 1990s dealt with a question of banning the Internet to a certain class in order not to give them access to porn.

“Justice Kennedy said ‘we cannot set the house on fire to roast the pig’,” Justice Bhat observed.

Mr. Kohli, who withdrew the petition, had sought a direction to the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPRD) to study the link between free access to internet pornography and child sexual abuse cases as well as rape.

The petition had also asked for data to be collected in a time-bound manner from State Police of cases which had disclosed a direct link between porn and sex crimes.