Pornography- Is It Legal In India?

Is Pornography legal in India?

Let us read about this in a hypothetical conversation between a lawyer and a porn star.

“We love Sunny Leone”- screams India if the Google data on online search is anything to go by. The lady beats the rest of the ‘celeb herd’ by miles.

Is Pornography legal in India? 

#Image for representative purpose only

Ever since the government banned a few porn sites, a heated debate immediately started on this topic. Some of us supporting the ban and others opposing.

Admittedly this is a matter of individual choice to like or not like porn. But a bigger question needs to be addressed.

Is watching, distributing, publishing, broadcasting porn a State issue or not?

Our dashing Lawyer Mr.Legal is in luck today.

Since morning he was wrestling with pro- and anti-porn ban arguments in his mind when by sheer happenstance his gaze fell upon this beautiful woman who the world knows as the most sought after porn star. We call her Miss Jungli (Name changed!).

The backdrop of the Airport lounge, Jazz in the background, coffee on the table and Miss Jungli in person. Mr.Legal just could not resist discussing legal awareness (duh!) of the porn industrialists (is this even a valid word…)?

Mr.Legal meets Miss Jungli.
Mr.Legal – Hi Miss Jungli I must say I’m lucky to be speaking to you in person. I must introduce myself. I am a practising lawyer in India.

Miss Jungli –That’s cool and as a matter of fact very timely. I was mulling over the idea of launching a pornography website in India. Could you suggest the legal aspects of pornography in India? Is pornography illegal in India?

Mr.Legal couldn’t thank his stars enough. The Lady herself is open to discussion on what he thought would be a mundane topic.

Mr.Legal – Well the word pornography has wide ramifications. It means any portrayal of sexual subject matters for stimulation. So sex education is not pornography.

It may be present in various media such as books, magazines, photography, postcards, sound recording, film, video or even video games.

First, let’s be very clear- pornography per se is Not Illegal in India.

Viewing cyber pornography is Not illegal in India, and its mere download does not amount to any offence. Also, possession of such pornographic content is Not illegal.

But here comes the slippery road.

Publication of such pornographic content is Illegal.
Transmission of such pornographic content through any electronic medium is Illegal.

Do you get the bottom line?

Do whatever, watch whatever but Only in the privacy of your house.

Miss Jungli – Are there actual written laws in these matters or are they dependent on the whims and fancies of the ruling Government and Bureaucrats?

Mr.Legal – But of course there are laws!

In the Indian Penal Code (IPC)-Section 292 deals with any act for the purpose of selling, hiring or publishing, distributing any books, pamphlets, paper, writing, drawing or painting of any object, shall be deemed to be obscene…………if it is lascivious etc.

You shall be liable for a punishment for a period of two years along with a fine or both.

Similarly, Section 354A of the same code also provides certain liabilities to a person who exhibits pornographic content to any women against her will.

The offender is liable to an imprisonment of 5 years with fine.

Miss Jungli -And does the same go for the Internet too?

Mr.Legal -The moment you log into the web, you come in the ambit of the Information Technology Act aka IT act.

Section 67 of the IT Act purely deals with cyber pornography and provides strict punishments to persons involved in such acts.

You’d be surprised that cyber pornography has been banned in many parts of the world but in India.

But the funny part is that this act has not banned pornography but has not legalized it too!

Section 67 of the Act states that any publication, transmission of any information which contains pornographic or obscene contents will be punishable with up to 3 years’ imprisonment and a fine of Rs. Five Lakh.

Miss Jungli – OMG! So I must drop my idea of a pornographic website in India.

Mr.Legal – Absolutely.

It is not legal to host a porn site on the hosting servers that are located in India.

Even though viewing pornography is completely legal in India – as I told you distribution or sale of pornographic material is a criminal offence and can land you in trouble.

As ‘hosting’ a porn site comes under distribution, it is illegal to do so.

However, you can host a porn site, with those dedicated servers that are allowing you to host adult stuff (porn data) and are located outside India

I would advise you to run such kind of website outside India, where it is legal to do so like in the U.S.A.

Miss Jungli – I don’t understand what’s the big deal about pornography. What is the logic behind these laws? After all are we not mixing it up with sex trade?

Mr.Legal -Our lawmakers and the Courts in their wisdom have looked at pornography as a social problem.

It has been observed that even when pornography is viewed in private, often leads to deception in marriage and which may, later on, affect family life.

It may lead to adultery, prostitution and many unreal expectations that can result in dangerous promiscuous behaviour.

Miss Jungli-And do you believe the same?

Mr.Legal– It doesn’t matter.

It is not for an individual, but the State to decide what’s good and bad for the society, nation as a whole. That’s the law of the land.

Miss Jungli-That’s great!


Miss Jungli- Oh! My flight is announced. I’ll have to take your leave. That was great speaking to you. And thanks for your advice. I would’ve landed in the soup had I launched my porn website.

Mr.Legal– Pleasure is mine. You aren’t just lovely but also intelligent.

Miss Jungli-  Take care

Mr.Legal- Godspeed!

Please share with friends and relatives. You never know who could be benefitted by this information.

Adv.Sidharth Arora 
Supreme Court of India 
+91-9599200768 +91-9560601768 
A-1/121 Janakpuri, New Delhi. 

DISCLAIMER: Through this article, we wish to help those who are in genuine need of help and are willing to understand the law. This is not a solicitation, advertisement or a substitute of professional legal advice. It does not create any client-attorney relationship.


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