'Can't Be Present in Everyone's Bedroom': Centre To Supreme Court on Banning Porn Sites

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'Can't Be Present in Everyone's Bedroom': Centre To Supreme Court on Banning Porn Sites
New Delhi:  On a petition asking for a ban on porn sites in India, the government today told the Supreme Court that while child pornography must be banned, "we cannot be present in everyone's bedroom."

Attorney General Mukul Rohtagi said that a larger debate was required in the society or in Parliament on banning porn sites altogether.

"Child pornography has to be banned. However we cannot become a totalitarian state," the government's top lawyer argued.

Last week, the government blocked over 850 portals with adult content on grounds of morality and decency, but partially revoked the order after an angry backlash on social media and amid a raging debate on censorship in a democracy.

The government ordered Internet service providers to shut down sites that promote child pornography.

Many service providers say the order is ambiguous and not practical.

In 2011, India urged social network companies to screen content and remove offensive material.

Indore-based lawyer Kamlesh Vaswani filed the petition seeking a ban on porn websites in India. His lawyer Vijay Punjwani told NDTV: "The activity of pornography, from the first shot to the viewing is completely criminal. It should be banned like using drugs is banned."

During a hearing last month, Chief Justice of India HL Dattu declined to pass an interim order to block porn websites and said the court could not stop an adult from exercising his fundamental right to personal liberty to watch porn within the privacy of his room.

As the debate continues, the government is considering, among other options, setting up an ombudsman to track online content. It could be headed by a retired Supreme Court judge or somebody from the civil society.

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