"The Secretary, Department of Telecommunications (DoT), may file his personal affidavit within one week on the issue whether the DoT or any other department of the Government of India is competent to issue direction to the respondent No.4 (ISPs) to call off sites showing pornography," a bench headed by Justice BS Chauhan said.

The bench passed the order after service providers submitted that they on their own cannot block such sites and they can do so only on the direction of the government.

The court was hearing a petition filed by Indore-based advocate Kamlesh Vaswani, who pleaded that although watching obscene videos is not an offence, pornographic sites should be banned as they are one of the major causes for crime against women.

Advocate Vijay Panjwani, appearing for the petitioner, submitted that the Centre has failed to devise mechanism to block the Internet sites and absence of Internet laws encourage people to watch porn videos and as it is not an offence.

The petition alleged that over 20 crore porn videos or clippings are freely available in the market, which are directly been downloaded through Internet or other video CDs.

"The sexual content that kids are accessing today is far more graphic, violent, brutal, deviant and destructive and has put entire society in danger so also safety threats to public order in India. The petitioner most respectfully submits that most of the offences committed against women/girls/children are fuelled by pornography. The worrying issue is the severity and gravity of the images are increasing. It is a matter of serious concern that pre-pubescent children are being raped," it said.

"At best, the IPC only recognizes the offences of obscenity, kidnapping, abduction and other related offences which are not sufficient to tackle the issue of pornography, and such videos," it said, adding that watching and sharing obscene videos should be made non-bailable and cognizable offence.

(Agencies)

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