Receiving porn videos is not an offence, but watching and sharing child pornography is an offence : Supreme Court

New Delhi – The Supreme Court on Friday reserved its judgment on an appeal challenging the Madras High Court’s decision that downloading and possessing child pornography is not a criminal offence. A child watching porn may not be an offence but children being used in pornography is a matter of “serious” concern and may be an offence, the Supreme Court said. The Madras High Court has ruled that mere downloading and watching child pornography is not an offence under the POCSO Act and the Information Technology law.

The bench said if one gets such material in the inbox then it has to be deleted or destroyed to avoid scrutiny under the relevant laws. If one continues to breach the IT provisions by not deleting or destroying the child pornographic materials then it makes out an offence, it said.

The bench was responding to the submissions of the lawyer, representing the person who was accused of downloading child pornographic material that the alleged clip came to him on June 14, 2019.

The observations came from a bench of Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice J B Pardiwala while reserving the verdict on an appeal filed by NGOs — Just Rights for Children Alliance of Faridabad and New Delhi-based Bachpan Bachao Andolan — challenging the Madras High Court verdict.