India To Crack Down On Child Porn, Possessing Videos May Land You In Jail

Child Pornography Blanket Ban: The change is part of amendments to the country's 2012 law on protection of children from sexual offences that have been finalised by union minister Maneka Gandhi's women and child development ministry, government sources told NDTV.

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India To Crack Down On Child Porn, Possessing Videos May Land You In Jail

India is prepping for a blanket ban on child porn under its child sex abuse law (Representational)


New Delhi: 

India is prepping for a blanket ban on child porn under its child sex abuse law.

The centre is going to make possession of child pornography an offence, a huge upgrade over the existing provision that only spells out jail term for people who make these films, pass them around or sell them.

The change is part of amendments to the country's 2012 law on protection of children from sexual offences that have been finalised by union minister Maneka Gandhi's women and child development ministry, government sources told NDTV. Violators could be punished with five years in jail.

The changes will also bring the punishment for rape in this law on par with the penal code that was amended earlier this year to introduce death sentence and stiffer jail terms for child rapists.

It will also make it a crime to give chemicals or hormones to child for early sexual maturity. Staffers in shelter homes who give or receive benefits to let a child be sexually assaulted will also face a minimum of 20 years in jail.

The amendments have been supported by other ministries concerned such as the home ministry and are expected to reach the union cabinet soon.

If the department completes the formalities on time, it could be put before parliament for its approval during the monsoon session beginning next week.

In 2015, the centre had blocked hundreds of portals with adult content on grounds of morality and decency but had to revoke the directive after an angry backlash on social media. It later told the Supreme Court that the government "cannot be present in everyone's bedroom".

But there has been unanimity that child porn should be completely banned. Last year, the government told the top court that it had blocked thousands of websites for child porn too.

The government did make publishing, transmission and downloading of child porn a crime under the Information Technology Act in 2008 after stonewalling demands from child rights activists for years. Officials say it isn't as comprehensive as they would like it to be.

The new provision, one official said, could help the authorities crack down on the demand side of paedophiles with some demonstrative action.

In its final form, the child sex abuse law would ban possession of child porn in all its forms.

It defines child porn to cover not only representation of sexual organs of a child or using a child in real or stimulated sexual acts but also "indecent or obscene representation" of a child.



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