Changing Dimensions of Judging Obscenity-An Analysis of Judicial Decisions, India and Abroad

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Dr. Anshuman Mishra


India is known for its moral values. Obscenity, vulgarity and pornography have no place in the society, but in this era, the age of globalization, it is hard to deal with the menace, rapidly corrupting the youth. The burden to uphold the well established traditions is also on the media. Law has a definite role to play. Restrictions to be imposed must also be within the bounds of fundamental freedoms ensured by the Constitution. The judiciary finds out in a given case as per its facts and circumstances, whether, right to freedom of speech and expression has exceeded the prescribed limits. Certain tests have been laid down by the courts to know what is obscene and what is not. The concept of obscenity would differ from country to country depending on the standards of morals of contemporary society, therefore, what is considered as a piece of literature in France may be obscene in England and what is considered in both countries as not harmful to public order and morals may be obscene in India. The present paper is an humble attempt to analyse the law relating to obscenity and to find out the tests propounded in various countries as well as the position in India in order to know whether the material is obscene or not.

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