1. Overview

 Any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a child is illegal.[1]

This can include:

  • Photograph
  • Video
  • Digital or computer-generated image indistinguishable from an actual child
  • Image created, adapted or modified
  1. Different terms and what they mean 

Definitions of some of the terms used in the legislation:

  • Obscenity a book, pamphlet, paper, writing, drawing, painting, representation, figure or any other object, shall be deemed to be obscene if it is lascivious or appeals to the prurient interest or if its effect such as to tend to deprave and corrupt person.[2] 
  1. Working together

 The Indian government signed an agreement with National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) in the U.S, as a result of which the organization have started sending the government Tipline reports on child pornography videos being uploaded online. The center receives such tip-offs from individuals and service providers and further uses a range of software to track child pornography online. This is further shared with the law enforcement agencies of different states in the form of TIPLINE reports.[3] 

  1. What’s the law?

 Indian Penal Code

  • Section 293 of the Indian Penal Code criminalizes the sale, distribution, circulation etc. of obscene material to any person below the age of twenty years.

Information Technology Act’ 2000

Section 67B: Punishment for publishing or transmitting of material depicting children in sexually explicit act, etc., in electronic form

  1. publishes or transmits or causes to be published or transmitted material in any electronic form which depicts children engaged in sexually explicit act or conduct
  2. creates text or digital images, collects, seeks, browses, downloaded, advertises, promotes, exchanges or distributes material in any electronic form depicting children in obscene or indecent or sexually explicit manner; or
  3. cultivates, entices or induces children to online relationship with one or more children for and on sexually explicit act or in a manner that may offend a reasonable adult on the computer resource; or
  4. facilitates abusing children online; or
  5. records in any electric form own abuse of that of others pertaining to sexually explicit act with children.

Protection of children from Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act, 2019

Section 15 of the Act focuses on punishment for storage of pornographic material involving a child. It states that:

  1. Any person who stores or possesses pornographic material in any from involving a child, but fails to delete or destroy or report the same to the designated authority, as may be prescribed, with an intention to share or transmit child pornography, shall be liable to fine not less than five thousand rupees and in the event of second or subsequent offence, with fine which shall not be less than ten thousand.
  2. Any person, who stores or possesses pornographic material in any form involving a child for transmitting or propagating or displaying or distributing in any manner at any time except for the purpose of reporting, as may be prescribed, or for use as evidence in court, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.
  3. Any person, who stores or possesses pornographic material in any form involving a child for commercial purpose shall be punished on the first conviction with imprisonment of either description which shall not be less than three years which may extend to five years or with fine or with both and in the event of second or subsequent conviction, with imprisonment of either description which shall not be less than five years which may extend to seven years and shall also be liable to fine.

More information and support

  • The Government of India has started an initiative to facilitate victims/ complainants to report cybercrime complaints online. This portal caters to all types of cybercrime complaints including complaints pertaining to online child pornography, Child Sexual Abuse Material or sexually explicit content, etc.
  • Complaints can also be made with the Childline helpline number 1098, for any issue pertaining to child rights and child protection.

[1] Section 2(da), Protection of children from Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act, 2019.

[2] Section 292, Indian Penal Code

[3] SOURCE: https://indianexpress.com/article/india/child-pornography-india-ncmec-us-report-6238603/.