Provision

[ (1) For the purposes of sub-section (2), 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, or (where it comprises two or more distinct items) the effect of any one of its items, is, if taken as a whole, such as to tend to deprave and corrupt persons who are likely, having regard to all relevant circumstances, to read, see or hear the matter contained or embodied in it.]

[ (2) ] Whoever-

(a) sells, lets to hire, distributes, publicly exhibits or in any manner puts into circulation, or for purposes of sale, hire, distribution, public exhibition or circulation, makes, reduces or has in his possession any obscene book, pamphlet, paper, drawing, painting, representation or figure or any other obscene object whatsoever, or

(b) imports, exports or conveys any obscene object for any of the purposes aforesaid, or knowing or having reason to believe that such object will be sold, let to hire, distributed or publicly exhibited or in any manner put into circulation, or

(c) takes part in or receives profits from any business in the course of which he knows or has reason to believe that any such obscene objects are, for any of the purposes aforesaid, made, produced, purchased, kept, imported, exported, conveyed, publicly exhibited or in any manner put into circulation, or

(d) advertises or makes known by any means whatsoever that any person is engaged or is ready to engage in any act which is an offence under this section, or that any such obscene object can be procured from or through any person, or

(e) offers or attempts to do any act which is an offence under this section, shall be punished 1 [on first conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, and with fine which may extend to two thousand rupees, and, in the event of a second or subsequent conviction, with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five years, and also with fine which may extend to five thousand rupees].

2 [Exception-This section does not extend to-

(a) any book, pamphlet, paper, writing, drawing, painting, representation or figure-

(i) the publication of which is proved to be justified as being for the public good on the ground that such book, pamphlet, paper, writing, drawing, painting, representation or figure is in the interest of science, literature, art or learning or other objects of general concern, or

(ii) which is kept or used bona fide for religious purposes;

(b) any representation sculptured, engraved, painted or otherwise represented on or in-

(i) any ancient monument within the meaning of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958 (24 of 1958), or

(ii) any temple, or on any car used for the conveyance of idols, or kept or used for any religious purpose.]]


Simply Put

This section makes sale, letting to hire, distribution and public exhibition of obscene books etc an offence. Sections 292 and 293 were amended by Act XXXVI of 1969. Even though law of obscenity was liberalised in favour of works of science, art and literature, care was taken to see that obscene publications in the guise of such works were dealt with severely. While sub-section (1) of the section attempts to explain the meaning of ‘obscenity’, sub-section (2) penalises sale etc. of obscene material, and the exception exempts liability under certain circumstances.

Sub-section (1) says that for the purposes of sub-section (2) of this section book, pamphlet etc. shall be deemed to be obscene if the same is either lascivious or appeals to prurient interest or if its effect, or the effect of any one of its items, in such cases where it has more than one item, is such as has a tendency to deprave or corrupt persons if taken as a whole who are likely to read, see or hear the matter contained or embodied in it, having regard to all relevant circumstances.

Sub-section (2) says whoever (a) either sells, lets to hire, distributes, publicly exhibits or in any manner puts into circulation, or for the purposes of sale, hire, distribution, public exhibition, or circulation, makes, produces or possesses any obscene book, pamphlet, paper, drawing, painting, representation or figure of any obscene object whatsoever, or (b) either imports, exports or conveys any object which is obscene for any of the aforesaid purposes, or with knowledge or having reason to believe that such object will be either sold, let to hire, distributed or exhibited publicly or put into circulation in any manner, or (c) either participates in or receives profits from any business in the course of which he has knowledge or has reason to believe that any such obscene objects are, for the aforesaid purposes, either made, produced, purchased, kept, imported, exported, conveyed, exhibited publicly or in any manner circulated, or (d) either advertises or makes known by whatever means that any person is either engaged or is ready to engage in any act which is an offence under this section, or any such obscene object can be procured from or through any person, or (e) either offers to do or attempts to do any act which is an offence under this section, shall be punished on first conviction with simple or rigorous imprisonment for a term extending up to two years, and with fine extending up to two thousand rupees, and in the event of subsequent convictions, with simple or rigorous imprisonment for a term extending up to five years, and also with fine extending up to five thousand rupees.

There is an exception attached to this section according to which the section does not extend to (a) any book, pamphlet, paper, writing, drawing, painting, representation or figure (i) the publication of which is justified for public good on the ground that the same is in the interest of science, literature, art or learning or other objects of general concern, or (ii) which is either kept or used bona fide for religious purposes. The exception also does not extend to (b) any representation which is sculptured, engraved, painted or otherwise represented on or in (i) any ancient monument within the meaning of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958 (24 of 1958), or (ii) Any temple, or on any car used for the conveyance of idols, or kept or used for any religious purpose.



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