We can’t be present in everyone’s bedroom: Centre to SC on porn ban

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In what would be seen as a major U-turn by the central government, the Attorney General on Monday told the Supreme Court that the government had not banned all porn websites.

Representing central government on porn ban, the AG Mukul Rohatgi said that only child port websites had been banned.

He said, ” It’s difficult to ban all websites. We can’t be present in everyone’s bedroom. What we need is a larger debate in our society. We cannot indulge in moral policing and our country can’t become a totalitarian state.”

He said that the idea of banning the porn sites was in direct conflict with the government’s overall thrust on championing digital India.

He said, ” Government’s focus is on building digital India and the prime minister is inviting suggestions from public on his website on his speech for Independence Day.In such a situation, the internet is becoming vibrant and we simply cannot go on blocking websites as it will also affect right to speech.”

The central government’s decision to ban over 800 adult websites had caused huge furore with people likening this move with an attack on civil liberties. The government was soon forced to announce it was only banning the websites carrying sexual content involving children

The Supreme Court too in the past had refused to block child pornography arguing that it can’t stop people from consuming something inside the four walls of their houses.

The SC bench had observed, “It is an issue for the government to deal with. Can we pass an interim order directing blocking of all adult websites? And let us keep in mind the possible contention of a person who could ask what crime have I committed by browsing adult websites in private within the four walls of my house. Could he not argue about his right to freedom to do something within the four walls of his house without violating any law?”

Last year, Internet Service Providers Association of India (ISPAI) had told SC that they were mere conduits of providing internet access to customers and could not ban certain websites unless they were asked by the government to do so.

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