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Five most controversial bans imposed by Government in 2015

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By Harshmeet Singh

The year 2015 will be remembered for many things. From PM Modi’s frequent foreign visits and the Dadri lynching incident to the astounding victory of Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi and quashing of the NJAC by the SC, 2015 saw a number of controversial stories.

But few things turned out to be more controversial than the series of bans imposed by the Government on various things, each of which drew contrasting reactions from the society. To refresh your memory, NewsGram brings to you the five most controversial bans imposed by the Government in 2015.

  1. No more Maggi Maggi Maagi! (at least for a while!)

No ban turned out to be as controversial as the ban on the country’s favorite instant noodles, Maggi. It all began when the FSDA (Food Safety and Drug Administration) Lucknow reported that some packets of the Maggi noodles have been found to contain Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) and lead beyond the permissible limits.

maggi

Nestle denied all these allegations while the states across the country started to ban the product one by one, beginning with Delhi on 3 June.

To the relief of Maggi lovers, the countrywide ban was lifted by the Bombay High Court in August.

  1. Maharashtra Government bans beef

beef

‘Beef’ has probably been one of the most controversial words in the country in 2015. It all started with Maharashtra government’s decision to ban eating, selling or processing of red meat. Though the bill was passed by the state government in 1995 itself, it was given the green signal by the central government and president’s assent only this year.

  1. Porn ban

The Internet users in the country were in for a shock in August when they came to know about the government’s decision to ban porn websites across the country. This decision by the government came after the SC criticized the government for not doing enough to keep a check on child pornography, which is illegal. But after a massive outcry, the government was forced to retract its decision within a few days.

  1. Ban on ‘India’s daughter’

nirbhaya case protest

‘India’s daughter’, a BBC documentary based on the Nirbhaya gang rape case, was banned by the government. The documentary contained an interview of one of the accused, Mukesh Singh, who showed no remorse and instead blamed the girl, forcing the government to take this step. Though BBC didn’t air the documentary in India, it was released internationally.

  1. Ban on NGOs for alleged illegal foreign funding

The central government suspended 4,470 NGOs in the country on allegations of receiving foreign funds in an illegal manner. It started with the Government freezing the accounts of Greenpeace International and trying to stop Priya Pillai, an activist associated with the NGO, from travelling abroad.

cover-of-the-book-greenpeace

According to the government, the licenses were cancelled for a variety of reasons, including failure to file returns and violation of the FCRA (Foreign Contribution Regulation Act).

 

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Rajasthan High Court Bans Single-Use Plastic And Thermocol Products

On Gandhi ji's 150th Birth Anniversary, the Full Court of Rajasthan High Court has unanimously resolved to ban single-use plastic and thermocol products

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Rajasthan, HC, High Court, BANS, Single-use plastic, thermocol
Rajasthan High Court said the state government had imposed a ban on the use of plastic carry bags across the State in 2010 but this has not sufficiently worked on the ground. Pixabay

As a mark of respect to the Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi on his 150th Birth Anniversary, the Full Court of Rajasthan High Court has unanimously resolved to ban single-use plastic and thermocol products in the court’s premises.

In a circular, the Rajasthan High Court said the state government had imposed a ban on the use of plastic carry bags across the State in 2010 but this has not sufficiently worked on the ground.

The Central Government has recently declared to ban the single-use plastic across the nation from October 2, but without public awareness and commitment, this step may also result in futility, the circular stated.

“As a mark of respect to the father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi on his 150th Birth anniversary and in the interest of the institution and public at large, the Full Court has unanimously resolved not to use the banned single-use plastic/thermocol in any manner in the premises of the Rajasthan High Court and High Court guest house both at Jodhpur and Jaipur, as also in the premises of all the subordinate courts, canteens/restaurants in the premises of all the Courts of the State and also during official functions, conferences and any other occasions,” said the Rajasthan High Court in a notification.

This means that the ban will extend to all courts in the state, High Court Guest House at Jaipur and Jodhpur, canteens and restaurants operating inside the premises of Courts as well as official functions, conferences and any other occasion.

Rajasthan, HC, High Court, BANS, Single-use plastic, thermocol
The ban will extend to all courts in the state, High Court Guest House at Jaipur and Jodhpur, canteens and restaurants operating inside the premises of Courts as well as official functions, conferences and any other occasion. Pixabay

The circular has directed to follow the order and ensure strict compliance of this practice.

ALSO READ: Delhi Has More Power Tariffs Than Goa, Arunachal Pradesh, J&K

The Full Court of Calcutta High Court had also banned single-use plastic in its premises by way of a resolution. (IANS)

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Kenya Bans Child Adoption By Foreign Nationals

A special Cabinet meeting at State House on Thursday also directed the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection to formulate a new policy document to regulate the adoption of children by foreign nationals in Kenya

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Kenya, Bans, Adoption, Foreigners, Court
The Cabinet has announced a ban on adoption of Kenyan children by foreigner.

BY GEOFFREY ISAYA

The Cabinet has banned with immediate effect adoption of Kenyan children by foreign nationals as the government moves to tame rogue adopters.

A special Cabinet meeting at State House on Thursday also directed the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection to formulate a new policy document to regulate the adoption of children by foreign nationals in Kenya, State House Spokesperson Kanze Dena said in a statement.

COURT BATTLES

There have been concerns over the existing loopholes in adoption laws of local children by foreigners with court battles rife on the same.

Most recently, an American couple, Daisy and her husband Matt, won a vicious adoption battle with the State over their procedure of adopting a Kenyan baby.

The baby was handed over to the couple on Wednesday after they were granted legal guardianship by the Nairobi’s Children Court in April 2017.

Kenya, Bans, Adoption, Foreigners, Court
an American couple, Daisy and her husband Matt, won a vicious adoption battle with the State over their procedure of adopting a Kenyan baby. VOA

The matter came to the limelight after detectives from Directorate of Criminal Investigations stormed the residence of the couple and forcefully took the baby away.

The police said the baby was found abandoned as a newborn along with another baby, believed to be his twin.

In August 2015, the High Court stopped two Swedish couples and a Danish couple from taking three Kenyan children out of the country, after it was discovered that the minors were not abandoned orphans but had families.

The couples had been living with the children in Nairobi for months as families of the children searched for their missing minors, only to discover they had been declared abandoned orphans and offered for adoption to the foreigners by local adoption agencies.

Following a review of the adoption process by the Technical Assessment of the Legal Provisions and Practices of Guardianship, Foster Care and Adoption of children by the Government of Kenya and UN children agency Unicef, an adoption moratorium on foreigners was placed by the government in December 2014.

ALSO READ: Almost 5 Million Pigs in Asia Dies Because of Spread of African Swine Fever Over the Past Year

The review showed there were weaknesses in the legal process, which was subject to manipulation leading to commercialisation of adoptions.

Besides the moratorium, the government also revoked the licenses of adoption agencies. In 2015, the government appointed an expert committee to implement the objectives of the moratorium.

In 2017, the committee, in a report presented to President Kenyatta, recommended the freeze to be maintained and that all the Charitable Children’s Institutions (Homes) be closed down.

As a result, the government is not renewing the licenses for the children’s homes, nor licensing new ones.

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All You Need to Know About the Ban on Porn Sites

Government playing with 'personal liberty'? Or was it a Government notification turned into a propaganda?

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Some people linked 'porn ban' to the right-wing politics of BJP. Wikimedia Commons
Some people linked 'porn ban' to the right-wing politics of BJP. Wikimedia Commons

by Shantam Sahai

  • In 2013, Kamlesh Vaswani filed a petition to ban all access and distribution of pornography
  • DoT notifies ISPs to ban 857 URLs
  • Only porn sites showing child pornography will be banned, later clarified government officials

In August 2015, the Government of India banned access to 857 porn sites. Department of Telecom notified internet service providers to block access to these 857 URLs, under Section 79(3)(b) of Information Technology Act, 2000. The content on these websites related to morality, decency as given in Article 19(2) of the Constitution of India.

This list of 857 URLs was given by petitioner Kamlesh Vaswani to government officials on 17 October 2014. However, later the Government backtracked by saying it only plans to ban websites showing content related to ‘child pornography’. In November 2014, the Government had banned access to sites hosting pornography, the ban was later lifted due to heavy public pressure to unblock porn sites.

Read more: Govt’s order on ban on porn sites “vague and unimplementable”

India, the country where 'Kama Sutra' originated, faces serious problems with censorship of sexual content. Wikimedia Commons
India, the country where ‘Kama Sutra’ originated, faces serious problems with censorship of sexual content. Wikimedia Commons

Analysis of the ‘Porn ban’

By order no. 813-7/25/2011-DS (Vol.-V), the department of Electronics and Information Technology has asked the Department of Telecom to notify internet service providers to block access to 857 URLs. The notification functioned under provision of Section 79(3)(b) of Information Technology Act, 2000.

Section 79(3)(b) of The Information Technology Act, 2000 says:

“(b) upon receiving actual knowledge, or on being notified by the appropriate Government or its agency that any information, data or communication link residing in or connected to a computer resource controlled by the intermediary is being used to commit the unlawful act, the intermediary fails to expeditiously remove or disable access to that material on that resource without vitiating the evidence in any manner.”

In this case, the intermediary are ISPs and the ‘unlawful act’ is publication of pornographic content by websites. Under Section 67A of Information Technology Act, the publication of pornography is a punishable act which amounts to 3 years in prison and a fine upto Rs 5 lakhs.

Basically, publishing pornographic content is an offence in India, but viewing it is not. 

Hence, any debate on ‘Right to Privacy’ or ‘Personal Liberty’ won’t stand as the Government banned 857 porn sites under a defined law. It did not ‘ban’ anyone from viewing the content. The content was banned from being accessed by us. All that is left to debate, are legal loopholes and philosophy.

The Internet is a web of networks. In today's world of tech-savvies and the BIG Indian market, there is little or no way to ban any content. Pixabay
The Internet is a web of networks. In today’s world of tech-savvies and the BIG Indian market, there is little or no way to ban any content. Pixabay

‘Technically’, can’t ban porn

A notification by the Government to internet service providers in regard to 857 websites was being translated to a ‘porn ban’. However, a ‘porn ban’, technically, is quite an impossible task. For example, banning torrents just resulted in more sources from multiple servers around the world. Piratebay is still running full throttle.

You may also like: India ranks third in porn consumption 

Avoiding access to a bunch of URLs doesn’t mean a ‘ban’ on porn. Since viewing porn is not an offensive act and India is a huge market, people will figure out way to bypass and the traffic will just keep shifting.

Who is Kamlesh Vaswani?

Kamlesh Vaswani is a lawyer at Indore High Court, who filed a petition in 2013 to ban access and distribution of porn in India. He had heard of numerous brutal rape cases and after Nirbhaya, he decided to do something about it. Vaswani ended up in drawing a connection between pornography and crimes against women. His petition said:

“Watching porn itself puts the country’s security in danger, encourages violent acts, unacceptable behaviour in society, exploitation of children and lowers the dignity of women and he believes watching online pornography has a direct co-relation with crimes against women.”

The Supreme Court had rejected the petition saying it is a violation of Right to Privacy.

The big question! Does porn cause sexual violence?

Also read: The great Indian porn debate: Does it create rapists or release sexual frustration?

If “watching online pornography has a direct co-relation with crimes against women”, then why don’t we relate murder in a movie with murder in real life? Just like a movie, pornographic films has actors in staged situations which are discussed in advance. Some of the content does involve fantasy dominance and non-consent, but these are performed by consenting adults.

The questions left are, was this Government notification an enforcement of law? Or was it an enforcement of right-wing ‘sanskaar’ for political appeasement?

2 responses to “All You Need to Know About the Ban on Porn Sites”

  1. “If watching online pornography has a direct co-relation with crimes against women”, then why don’t we relate murder in a movie with murder in real life?” Easy answer. When people watch violent movies are they sitting there stabbing a pillow for 30 minutes with a kitchen knife? No, they don’t. But when they watch porn they’re typically stimulating themselves and releasing neurochemicals that create a neural pathway, like a trail in the woods.. The neural pathways are deepened with REPETITION of the actions – watching and stimulating. We’re wired for sex and naturally going to build neural connections based upon our sexual activities.

  2. Is it legal to run an adult blogging site in india which does not contain child porn and porn videos it only contain adult industry pornstars news?

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