Is Hosting a Porn Website Legal in India?

Raj PagariyaLaw43 Comments

Is hosting a Porn Website Legal in India

Is hosting a Porn Website Legal in IndiaOut of hundreds of questions that are asked to us via our Facebook Page, E-Mails,  Helpline and Website on a daily basis, the question whether hosting a porn website is legal in India has been one of the most asked questions lately. While some questions sway towards offering services to pornographic websites and uploading content, the law certainly stays the same. We have extensively discussed the subject of pornography and related issues in the following posts –

Relevant Legal Provisions

For the purpose of this question, Section 67, 67A, and 67B of the Information Act, 2000 (herein referred as the IT Act) along with Section 292 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (herein referred as IPC) are relevant. Section 67, 67A, and 67B prohibit publication and transmission of obscene content, sexually explicit content, and child pornography respectively.

Section Type of Content Covered Imprisonment Up to (in years) Fine Up to (in ₹)
First Conviction Subsequent Conviction First Conviction Subsequent Conviction
67 Obscene Content 3 5 5,00,000 10,00,000
67A Sexually Explicit Content 5 7 10,00,000 10,00,000
67B Child Pornography 5 7 10,00,000 10,00,000

Section 292 talks about a representation, a figure, or any other object which can be deemed to be obscene. It states that participating in selling, publication, public exhibition, advertisement, or any such activity related to obscene content is an offence. It prescribes an imprisonment up to two years or fine up to ₹4000 or both on the first conviction while up to 5 years and ₹5000 on the second conviction.

So, is hosting a porn website legal in India?

The judgement of Supreme Court in Aveek Sarkar & Anr vs State of West Bengal & Anr (2014) changed how the Indian legal system will deal with questions related to obscenity. The law views these matters aligned with the way they are obscene. Now, over the years there were different legal tests as to whether something is obscene or not but this case has brought about a pleasant change to protect non-offenders in situations where they are wrongly held. The bench of Justice KS Radhakrishnan and Justice AK Sikri struck down the age-old Hicklin test (Given by the Queen’s Bench in Regina vs Hicklin (1868)) and adopted what they called as Community Standards Test. According to this, obscenity will be measured on the current community standards in the society and the judicial system has been vested with the interpretation.  

If the above-mentioned legal provisions are to be interpreted cohesively on the lines of Aveek Sarkar case, hosting a website displaying pornographic content would definitely invite the applicability of Section 292 of IPC. Moreover, Section 67, 67A, and 67B will be applicable as per the type of content involved as the IT Act is a law specialis i.e. law governing a specific subject matter. The doctrine of lex specialis derogat legi generali (A special law prevails over general and prior laws) has been upheld by the Supreme Court in the case of Anvar vs Basheer (2014) and same has been stated by the apex court in Sharat Babu Digumarti vs Government of NCT of Delhi (2016). Hence, hosting a porn website is not legal in India.

On the similar lines, hosting a website containing sex stories or cartoons depicting sexually explicit content will be considered as an offence under the Indian law as well. 

43 Comments on “Is Hosting a Porn Website Legal in India?”

  1. What about uploading videos on sites hosted outside India like xvideos.com. I work as a designer for a company based in Hungary and my job is to upload sexual gifs on Pornhub which again is hosted in USA . I work from my house in Mumbai. What does the law state in such a scenario?

    1. Hi Nilesh,

      Indian Law is not as explicit as one would expect. However, Section 67, 67A, and 67B of the Information Technology Act, 2000 talk about prohibition of publication and transmission of obscene content, sexually explicit content, and child pornography respectively. Simultaneously, Section 292 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 is interpreted such that being a part of activity related to obscene content, let it be publication, distribution, etc. is an offence under Indian Law.

      For more clarifications, feel free to write to us at contact@cyberblogindia.in.

      Thanks,
      Raj

    1. This question is often asked by our readers. However, it is not legal to transmit or publish pornographic content by the virtue of Section 67, 67A, and 67B of the IT Act, 2000 and public display under Section 292 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.

  2. is sex stories website are legal in india. can i start this website ????

    please help me ????

    1. Hi Pankaj

      This is one of the grey areas in Indian Law. However, as per my understanding of Section 292 of the Indian Penal Code, I would recommend you to not to.

      Thanks,
      Raj

      1. If I write adult content for different websites and they pay me per story. I contact them only through email. Is this legal in India.

    2. Is running a porn videos link website(not videos and pictures but just videos link the way we share YouTube videos) legal in India???

      Becz we don’t upload any kind of sexual picture and videos. It’s just that we add a link in our blog which will redirect them to the website

      1. Hi Rohan

        Even though you are putting the links, you are essentially facilitating the transmission of sexually explicit content. Further, Section 292 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 covers all the activities that lead to the public display of obscene material.

        If you want to discuss this in detail, feel free to write to us at contact@cyberblogindia.in.

        Thanks,
        Raj

  3. Is uploading self videos (like masturbating, strip off etc) on pornographic sites legal in India?
    Please reply

    1. Hi

      Section 67 and 67A expressly prohibits publication and transmission of obscene and sexually explicit content. So, irrespective of who has uploaded a video, if it contains such content, then it is an offence.

      Thank you.

    1. Hi

      By virtue of Section 1 of the Information Technology Act, 2000, it also applies to any offence or contravention committed outside India by any person. So even if a website is hosted in any other jurisdiction than India, one can be prosecuted in India.

      Thanks,
      Raj

  4. it is legal to spread ullu web series and other hostes like fliz movies, boltikahani, glamheart , bgrade in channel in telegram in india ??

    1. Hi

      Sharing of pirated content (that violates the rights of the original copyright owner) is not legal in India.

      Thanks

  5. Sir I starting a website related to xxx type and upload own videos+ downloaded videos from other sites without trade mark videos that is right or wrong pls give suggestions.

    1. Hi

      Publication and transmission of pornographic content is an offence under Section 67 and 67A of the Information Technology Act, 2000. Moreover, Section 292 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 classifies public display of obscene content as an offence.

      Thank you,
      Raj Pagariya

  6. Sir can we start a website where we will upload some movies (collected from others website ),
    is it illegal ?

  7. hi,
    Sorry, i got it, it’s illegal, but I got some doubt.
    I have seen much Indian Porn site, I have also checked detail, it has been hosted in India. So how they do it if it’s banned?

    If I hide my info, so no one can find my contact detail, how can I get punished?
    And most important
    Sunny leone. She has its own website of porn website and host from India. Sunny leone has not faced any rules in India.

    1. Publication/transmission of sexually explicit content is an offence as per Section 67A of the Information Technology Act, 2000. On similar lines, Section 292 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 provides for punishment in cases where public display of obscene content is involved.

      As far as banning the websites is considered, there are around 800-900 websites that have been blocked. Rest all are accessible. And merely because your information is hidden from the public domain, it does not mean that the law enforcement agency can not acquire it.

      More importantly, as far as my experience goes, there has been no case filed against the said individual for the same.

    1. Hi

      Any profession that involves acts specifically prohibited by the law cannot be considered as legal. For example, in the case of your question, Section 292 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 prohibits involvement in any capacity leading to the public display of obscenity and Section 67A of the Information Technology Act, 2000 prohibit publication and transmission of sexually explicit content over the internet.

      If you want to discuss this in detail, please write to us at contact@cyberblogindia.in.

      Thanks

  8. hi
    can anyone host porn website in india .
    without using any child and animal pornography
    only uploading with famous porn stars video.
    just curious to know.

    1. Hi

      Public display of obscene content is a crime under Section 292 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and publication and transmission of sexually explicit content is prohibited under Section 67A of the Information Technology Act, 2000. In case you have further queries, please write to us at contact@cyberblogindia.in.

      Thanks

  9. Hello,
    Even though you already referred that as one of the ‘Grey areas’ while answering on December Second, 2019, I would precisely be interested to identify the boundary between ‘pornography’ and ‘erotica’ in Indian legal scenario.

    Might publishing an erotica website be termed as ‘obscene’ in Indian legal interpretation?
    Regards

    1. Hi

      In the Indian context, it may be extremely difficult to clearly demarcate the difference between pornography, erotica, and obscenity.

      One understanding is that obscenity is a bigger circle and sexually explicit content is a small component thereof. It means everything sexually explicitly will be obscene while the vice versa would not hold true. Now, there are so many examples that would not agree with this understanding.

      So, it is very likely that hosting an erotica website may be considered as public display of obscene content.

      If you wish to discuss this further in detail, feel free to write to us at contact@cyberblogindia.in.

      Thanks,
      Raj

  10. Can I upload porn created by 3d animation to an adult site in other countries using VPN

    Is it legal in india

  11. Is it illegal to host a comic website with sweet love Stories and couple being intimate not to the extent to show the sex just kisses and little gropes
    Please tell me more specifically about comics law

  12. Hello sir
    I am an artist and I want to open my website of comics in which there will be love stories with couples being intimate not to the extent of showing sex just with kisses part and little gropes
    Can you tell me if this also fall in to the category of pornography

  13. I got following doubts as a aged person not knowing and ignorant
    01. Watching porn videos at home
    02. Searching for sex websites
    03. Reading Sex stories in private
    04. Commenting on sex stories in the same pages of sites where we read
    05. Participating in sex chats without giving photos etc
    06. Whether the data regarding search will be held with Google or Hathway etc and if so how much time they will be held.

    1. It varies from one country to another. You must check the existing laws, or seek legal advice.

      Thanks,
      Raj Pagariya

  14. Sir i have created a website that shares sex stories.is it legal.if i get punushed.what will be the consequences that i should face.

  15. Hello Sir,

    I am seeing a high rise of webcam models performing obscene/sexual acts individually or as couples on a few live-streaming websites.

    1. If it is illegal in India, then how are they displaying it from their residencies in India & that too on a global scale ?
    2. Is it necessary that only after someone lodges a complaint or a case is filed against them that any action can be taken (as per your previous answer on Sunny Leone)

    Thanks.

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