The issue of Obscenity has vexed the Courts in India and abroad for a long time now. The intriguing question has always been the same, i.e., what should be the standards to qualify something as obscene in the eyes of law? In the United Kingdom, way back in 1868, the Court laid down the Hicklin test in Regina v. Hicklin (1868 L.R. 2 Q.B. 360), and held that: "The test of Obscenity is whether the tendency of the matter charged as Obscenity is to deprave and corrupt those whose minds are open to such immoral influences and into whose hands a publication of this sort may fall." Hicklin test postulated that a publication has to be judged for obscenity based on isolated passages of a work considered out of context and judged by their apparent influence on most susceptible readers, such as children or weak-minded adults. However, this test was later rejected by most of the jurisdictions. There were many judgments where it was stipulated by the Indian Courts that, Obscenity has to be judged in the context of contemporary social mores, current socio-moral attitude of the community and the prevalent norms of acceptability/ susceptibility of the community, in relation to matters in issue. [For example, in Ranjit D. Udeshi v. State of Maharashtra AIR 1965 SC 881; Chandrakant Kalyandas Kakodar v. State of Maharashtra 1969 (2) SCC 687 etc.] These judgements indicated that the concept of Obscenity would change with the passage of time and what might have been ―obscene" at one point of time would not be considered as obscene at a later period. This came to be known as "Community Standards Test". In Bobby Art International & Ors. v. Om Pal Singh Hoon (1996) 4 SCC 1, the Court, upholding the Community standards test held that, complete message and context of the objectionable scene/firm/picture etc., needs to be examined in order to find out whether the alleged material is obscene or not.

Question 73

The issue of 'Obscenity‘ is fundamentally related with which of the following?

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