Obscenity and freedom of speech vis-a-vis poetic license

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Author: 
Prof (Dr) Mukund Sarda
Subject Area: 
Social Sciences and Humanities
Abstract: 

The concept of obscenity denotes the quality of being obscene which means offensive to modesty or decency lewd, filthy or repulsive. Sec 292 of the Indian Penal Code was engrafted to give effect to international convention for suppression of Traffic in obscene publications. Public decency and morality are constitutionally authorised ground of restraint on the right of free speech and expression. With the help of decided cases, the concept of obscenity has been discussed elaborately. The various tests evolved by the courts such as contemporary standards, community tolerance test and others have been discussed. The concept of poetic license and its connection with obscenity has been pointed out. Though poets have the license to express themselves in thoughts and words, they should not travel into the field of perversity and should not move away from a permissible ‘target domain’. Recommendations and Suggestions emerging out of the study have been made particularly emphasising on the need to ‘define obscenity’ and for adhering to the rulings of the courts.

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