Play That MMS Again, Please

Mumbai Mirror reports:

Government Railway Police (GRP) constables posted at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus are there to provide security to passengers who take long-distance trains, but for most of the time, they are checking male passengers phones for porn: not for watching, but extorting.

These cops stop young men at random and on the pretext of security check, demand to see their phones, and if they find some porn clips stored, they threaten arrest on grounds of obscenity. The only way out is of course if you pay a ‘suitable fee’ that could range from Rs 1000 to 5000. […]

By the way, a small fact: having a porn clipping on your cell phone for personal/private use is not illegal. It is sale, distribution, exhibition (in public or to another person) and distribution that is barred under law.

In my view, even “sale, distribution [and] exhibition” of porn clips should not be “barred under law”, for these are victimless crimes that harm no one, and barring them infringes on the rights of the consenting adults involved. (The argument that some of the porn may have been created under coercion doesn’t work for me, for the coercion itself would be a crime then, and you don’t need to ban all porn to end the coercion. Furthermore, driving the porn business underground by keeping it illegal makes it harder to protect the rights of those potentially coerced.)

Laws against such victimless crimes serve just one purpose: they give the police a revenue stream, for they can dangle the threat of prosecution and extort money from citizens who have harmed no one, instead of looking after law and order, which exists just notionally in this country, and works mainly for the rich and well-connected.

You think I’m generalizing, and this is an isolated instance? Well, remember this?

Also read:

Don’t Punish Victimless Crimes
The Matunga Racket