Recently, the Chhattisgarh High Court ruled that merely possessing obscene cassettes does not constitute an offence.
A bench of Justice Deepak Kumar Tiwari was considering an appeal challenging the judgment passed by the Special Judge, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, under which the appellant was convicted of offenses under sections 292 and 293 IPC. was ordained.
In this case the appellant's shop was running and 99 cassettes were recovered from the said shop. The appellant was involved in the activity of taking objectionable photographs of local women/girls. The confiscated cassettes contained pornographic films.
A case of offense has also been registered under IPC section 376. It was found that the confiscated cassettes contained obscene films, offenses under sections 292 and 293 of the IPC were added.
The trial court convicted the appellant under sections 292 and 293.
The issue of consideration before the bench was:
Whether the petitioner is liable for offense under sections 292 and 293 of IPC?
The High Court relied on the case of Sarat Babu Digumarty vs Sarkar (NCT Delhi) and observed that electronically generated activities which may be obscene are specifically punishable under section 67 of the Information Technology Act, 2000, and not That under section 292 of IPC.
The bench observed that except the recovery of the cassette, there is no material available on record to show that the accused committed the acts mentioned under sections 2(a) to 2(e) of section 292 of the IPC. Mere possession of obscene cassettes cannot amount to an offense and the prosecution has utterly failed to provide any evidence to the effect that possession was found for the purpose of lending it."
In view of the above, the bench allowed the appeal.