In Re: In the matter of incidence of gang rape in a boarding school

Uttarakhand High Court
Document type
Court Decision

On September 27, 2018, the High Court of Uttarakhand directed Internet Service Providers to block the publication/transmission of all obscene material in electronic form, including child pornography under Rule 3(2)(b,c) of the Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines) Rules, 2011. Further, it directed the Ministry of Communications and IT to suspend the Internet Service Licenses of those intermediaries that failed block pornographic websites. The case arose in September 2018 when the High Court of Uttarakhand (India) took notice of newspaper articles, which reported that a student was raped in the premises of a local school after the culprits had watched pornographic movies together.

On December 7, 2018, a division bench of the same Court closed the matter stating that the Government had assured the Court that it was taking adequate steps to block 857 pornographic websites and the larger issue of blocking online pornography and sexually explicit content was pending before the Supreme Court in Kamlesh Vaswani Vs. Union of India & Ors.

The order is problematic since it imposes content-based restrictions on Internet Service Providers. Moreover, despite the Ministry of Communications (Government of India) clarifying in August 2015 that intermediaries were free not to disable pornographic websites that did not have child pornographic content, the present Order directs intermediaries to ban all pornographic websites. For detailed analysis, refer to the case summary on Columbia Global Freedom of Expression.

Topic, claim, or defense
Child Protection (Includes Child Pornography)
Revenge Porn
Obscenity or Morality
Document type
Court Decision
Issuing entity
Appellate Domestic Court
Type of service provider
Internet Access Provider (Including Mobile)
Issues addressed
Trigger for OSP obligations
OSP obligation considered
Block or Remove
Type of law
General effect on immunity
Weakens Immunity
General intermediary liability model
Takedown/Act Upon Court Order