RANJIT D UDESHI Vs. STATE OF MAHARASHTRA
LAWS(BOM)-1962-2-2
HIGH COURT OF BOMBAY
Decided on February 06,1962

RANJIT D.UDESHI Appellant
VERSUS
STATE Respondents


Referred Judgements :-

EMPEROR V. VISHNU KRISHNA [REFERRED TO]
R. V. HICKLIN [REFERRED TO]
QUEEN-EMPRESS V. PARASHRAM YESHWANT [REFERRED TO]
R. V. BARRACLOUGH [REFERRED TO]
PAGET PUBLICATIONS LTD.,V. WASTON [REFERRED TO]
STEELE V. BRANNAN [REFERRED TO]
EMPRESS OF INDIA V. INDARMAN [REFERRED TO]
SUKANTA HALDER IN CUSTODY VS. STATE [REFERRED TO]
C T PRIM VS. STATE [REFERRED TO]
GIRDHARLAL POPATLAL SHAH VS. STATE OF MAHARASHTRA [REFERRED TO]


JUDGEMENT

- (1.)THE petitioner and three others, who are partners of a bookstall known as the "happy Book Stall" situated at Colaba Causeway, Bombay, have been convicted under Section 292 of the Indian Penal Code, in that they sold and were found in possession, for the purpose of sale, of copies of a highly controversial novel "lady Chatterley's Lover" by D. H. Lawrence which was alleged to be obscene. They were charged under this section in respect of several passages occurring in that book marked "exhibits A-1 to A-22" in the original. The learned Additional Chief Presidency Magistrate found them guilty of the offence charged against them and sentenced them each to pay a fine of Rs. 20 and in default to suffer one week's simple imprisonment. The petitioner has filed this revision application challenging the order of conviction and sentence passed against him, by the learned Additional Chief Presidency Magistrate.
(2.)IT is contended for the petitioner that the learned Magistrate has not applied the correct law to the questions in issue and hence the order of conviction and sentence passed by him is vitiated and should be set aside.
(3.)SECTION 292 of the Indian Penal Code as it originally stood in 1861, made it an offence to sell, distribute, import or print for sale or hire, or wilfully to exhibit any obscene book, pamphlet, paper etc. A representation in a temple or on a car used for conveying of an idol was, however, exempted from the operation of the section. In 1925, in implementation of the International Convention for Suppression of Traffic in obscene literature, the scope of the penal section was widened and the exception was also slightly enlarged. The exception now applies to any such matter connected with religion. We have, however, been referred to the report of the Select Committee, in support of the contention that the scope of the exception is widened and it would also apply to object of art and literature. (Gazette of India, Vol. V, dated 14th February 1925 ). The Select Committee says:
"we have considered at length the desirability of extending the scope of the Exception to new Section 292 of the Indian Penal Code, so as to cover religious, artistic and scientific writings, etc. , but we have come to the conclusion that it would be difficult to do so without including writings etc. , which are not bona fide of the nature stated. Further, there is a substantial body of case law, which makes it clear that bona fide religious artistic and scientific writings etc. , are not obscene within the meaning of the Indian Penal code. "
It is thus clear, that the scope of the exception has not been widened as urged for the petitioner. The question in this case must, therefore, be decided by reference to the section and the case-law.


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