Skip to content


State Vs. Thakur Prasad and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectMedia and Communication;Criminal
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberGovernment Appeal No. 124 of 1955
Judge
Reported inAIR1959All49; 1959CriLJ9
ActsIndian Penal Code (IPC), 1860 - Sections 292
AppellantState
RespondentThakur Prasad and ors.
Appellant AdvocateJ.R. Bhatt, Asst. Govt. Adv.
Respondent AdvocateKrishna Shankar, Adv.
DispositionAppeal allowed
Excerpt:
.....and there can be no doubt that it caters for prurient tastes and is therefore a publication of obscene matter falling under the mischief of section 292. the preface appended to the book by the author ram lagan pandey states that at the request of thakur prasad accused to write a book on 'kam shastra' which along with the normal aspects offamily life, should comprehend matters of delectation for the married and the unmarried man and woman, and which should further state the obstacles which lie in the way of gratification of desire of those who have the sex appeal in them and also the appeal of communion with others' wives, and which should contain measures as to how to overcome them, he undertook the task of writing the book. the book has been dedicated to those who have entered..........raid, it was alleged certain books styled as the 'romance of lust' and four blocks contain-ing obscene matter were also recovered from the bombay press. the prosecution alleged that these books, blocks and the picture on the title page were 'obscene' and they contained matter punishable under section 292, i, p. c. 2. thakur prasad gupta admitted the recovery of the books known as 'asli kokshastra' which he contended he had kept for sale. he further admitted that he got the book written by ram lagan pandey with the intention of selling the same. he denied that the 'romance of lust' was printed at his press. he further denied that copies of this book and four of the offending blocks had been recovered from his press. as regards 'asli kokshastra' his plea was that it contained no.....
Judgment:

D.N. Roy, J.

1. This is an appeal by the State against an order of acqtiittnl of the respondents who were charged with an offence punishable under Section 292 of the Indian Penal Code. Respondent. No. 1 Thakur Prasad Gupta is a bookseller at Banaras and he owns a press known as the Bombay Prers. Ram Lagan Pandoy respondent No. 3 is the author and writer of a book in Hindi Styled as 'Asli Kokshastra.'

Prasad Gupta respondent No. 2 is the publisher of the book which was printed at his press known as the 'Swatantra Bhirat Press' of Banaras. On 29-6-1953, upon a raid by the police of the shop of Thakur Prasad Gupta fifty copies of the book were recovered in the presence of this accused. On 5-7-1953 another raid was made by the police on the Bombay Press and the Swatantra Bharat Press and several copies of the book hod been recovered along with ten blocks and certain paper covers of these books containing a nude picture of a woman.

In that raid, it was alleged certain books styled as the 'Romance of Lust' and four blocks contain-ing obscene matter were also recovered from the Bombay Press. The prosecution alleged that these books, blocks and the picture on the title page were 'obscene' and they contained matter punishable under Section 292, I, P. C.

2. Thakur Prasad Gupta admitted the recovery of the books known as 'Asli Kokshastra' which he contended he had kept for sale. He further admitted that he got the book written by Ram Lagan Pandey with the intention of selling the same. He denied that the 'Romance of Lust' was printed at his press. He further denied that copies of this book and four of the offending blocks had been recovered from his press.

As regards 'Asli Kokshastra' his plea was that it contained no obscene matter and that it was a book relating to the 'Vaidyak Shastra'' and was therefore not punishable under Section 292.

3. Ram Lagan Pandey admitted the authorship of the book known as 'Ali Kokshastra' from pages 1 to 370. But he denied authorship of the remaining part of the book covered by pages 371 to 400. As regards the offending matter contained on pages 222 and 223 of the book, his contention was that they were only translations of a book known as 'Rati Ratan Pradipika' which he contended is an authoritative book on the subject.

The other offending passages contained at pages 393 to 395 of the book were not claimed by him as not being obscene. As we have already said, his contention in regard to the matter contained in those pages was that he was not the author of it.

4. Ganesh Prasad accused admitted that the book 'Asli Kokshastra'' was printed at the Swatantra Bharat Press of which he is the proprietor but he contended that the book is not obscene and that it is an authoritative text on the science of Sex written after the style of well known authors and that as such it is not punishable.

5. The learned Magistrate came to the conclusion that the book styled as 'Asli Kokshastra'' is not obscene and he accordingly acquitted all the three respondents of the charge under Section 292 in regard to that book. As regards the book styled as the 'Romance of Lust'' and also as regards the four blocks the Magistrate came to the conclusion that they contained obscene matter and he accordingly found Thakur Prasad guilty in respect thereof under Section 292, I. P. C., and sentenced him to a fine of Rs. 100 or in default to undergo one month's simple imprisonment, and he further directed that 'the obscene books and blocks be destroyed'. We are told that Thakur Prasad preferred an appeal against his conviction under Section 292 I, P. C., before the Sessions Judge and his appeal has been allowed and the conviction and sentence set aside.

6. In the present case we are not concerned with the book entitled as the 'Romance of Lust' or with the four blocks. The short point for determination is whether the publication styled as the 'Asli Kokshastra' written in Hindi with an outer covering of a nude picture of a woman, priced at Rs. 4 is a publication of obscene matter falling under the purview of Section 292 of the Indian Penal Code.

The book mostly deals with sex, sexual organs, curiosities of love and of sex life and gratification of normal and abnormal sex appetites and varieties of sexual intercourse and there can be no doubt that it caters for prurient tastes and is therefore a publication of obscene matter falling under the mischief of Section 292.

The preface appended to the book by the author Ram Lagan Pandey states that at the request of Thakur Prasad accused to write a book on 'Kam Shastra' which along with the normal aspects offamily life, should comprehend matters of delectation for the married and the unmarried man and woman, and which should further state the obstacles which lie in the way of gratification of desire of those who have the sex appeal in them and also the appeal of communion with others' wives, and which should contain measures as to how to overcome them, he undertook the task of writing the book.

The book has been dedicated to those who have entered family life and who desire to make their life a success and it has further been dedicated in the married and unmarried, young men and women, who have ardent sex appeal in them.' Particular emphasis was laid on behalf of the prosecution upon the passages contained at pages 222 and 223 of the book, the authorship of which hud been owned by the author him elf, and also on the passages at pages 393 to 395 of the book the authorship of which was denied by Ram Lagan Pandey.

The prosecution evidence was to the effect that Ram Lagan Pandey is the author of the entire book from cover to cover. Two of the accused, namely, Thakur Prasad Gupta and Ganesh Prasad did not contend that Ram Lagan Pandey was only the Author gf part of it and not of the whole. In fact their contention was that Ram Lagan Pandey was the author of the entire book. No evidence was given on behalf of Ram Lagan Pandey to how that he was the author of only part of it and not of the whole.

We are therefore driven to the conclusion that the whole of the book was written by Ram Lagan Pandey inclusive of the contentious passages at pages 222 and 223 and at pages 393 to 395.

7. We would now proceed to quote the passages aforesaid. At pages 222 and 223 we get a description of certain varieties of sexual intercourse. The matter is pleaded as :

'Now about some curious and unusual ways of intercourse.'

8. The matter then begins with what the author calls as 'Sanghata asan'. It is said that under this 'asan' two women are friendly with each other so much so that they he down crossing their thighs with one another. The man placing himself near to them first engages with one in bahyarata (Outward caresses, etc.) while he satisfies the other by the acts of inner coitus, repeating the action by turn one after the other.

9. The other description of 'sanghata asan'' stated under that head is that two men lie down close together in the same fashion as the two women described above and the woman enjoys with one man by the acts of inner coitus and she gives enjoyment to the other man by putting his penis into her mouth which is known as 'mukh maithun' or by giving him enjoyment by outer caresses, etc.

10. Then there is the description of the 'asan' known as 'goyudhakam'. This is described as follows. A number of women who are friendly with one another take for their common enjoyment a single man who effects copulation with each of them by turn. In the same manner a single woman engages a number of youths for her enjoyment simultaneously.

11. Then follows a description of what is known, according to the author, as 'varikelit asan'. The description of it has been given like this. A male elephant at the time of playing in water in the midst of a female herd engages in sexual action with each of them by turn. In the same manner a man playing in water with a number of women, enjoys with each of them by turn.

12. Afterdescribing 'Varikelit asan', as stated! above the author mentions that iu the country ofstrirajya a single woman enjoys simultaneously with a number of youths and that in Karnatak a single youth enjoys with a number of women at one and the same time.

13. The contention of the author is that the above is nothing but a reproduction of what is contained in 'Rati Ratna PradipiKa', It was also contended that the Rati Ratna Pradipika of Sri Deva-raja Maharaja has been translated into English by Pandit K. Rangpwami lyengar the Librarian of the Government Oriental Library Mysore, and the passages aforesaid are to be found in Chapter V. Paragraphs 33 to 37, at pages 30 and 31 of the 1923 edition of the book.

This argument however, loses sight of the fact that that book is not a priced publication and it is not put into the hands of the public at large, but has been expressly stated as meant 'for private circulation only.'

14. The offending matter at pages 393 to 395 of the book is headed 'Mukh maithun'. In paragraph 1 it is stated that the woman holding her master's penis with her hands places its tip just over her lip shaking) her head from one side to the ether and lets it go. In paragraph 2 it is stated that the action called 'parsvatodastam' consists of holding the end of the p.enis in her fit, and leaving its lower part bare, and she with her lips would grasp it on all its bare parts without the action of the teeth.

In paragraph 3 the action called 'bahissandam-sam' has been. described as having been urged again by the master the would place the tip of his organ in her mouth and after drawing) it in pressing-ly from between her closed lips would let it go. In paragraph 4 the action called 'antassandamsam' has been described as having been urged again by the master that this much is not sufficient she would by pushing down the outer skin make the upper part of the penis bare and then place it into her mouth.

In paragraph 5 the action called Chumbitakam has been described as follows. At some other time holding the penis in her hand she would simply kiss its end as she would do the lip. In paragraph 6 the action called 'parimristakam' has been said to consist in the following. If in the above act of kissing the woman hits with the tip of her tongue the bare end of the penis at the part where the tip comes out, it is called 'parimristakam'.

The description given in paragraph 7 mentions that the penis is made hare by pushing down the cuter skin, she places half its length into her mouth and drawing it inside pressingly and unhesitatingly and after chewing it she would let it go. This according to the author, is 'ambrachusitam' (ambra-mango fruit so called by the act resembling the chewing of the mango fruit).

In paragraph 8 it is described that lastly the whole of the bare penis is placed in her mouth and she with the action of the tongue and lips sucks the organ till the master attains the satisfaction of the discharge of his semen, and this action is called 'sangara'' or complete swallowing. Then follows what is stated at page 395 on the top. It says that prostitutes, libertines and such like women only resort to the above acts and not the family women and that these methods should not be practised upon ones own wife.

15. It is contended that these methods are found described in Vat yayana's Kamsutra and also in Rati Ratan Pradipika and consequently they, must not be regarded as containing obscene matter.

16. The Kam Sutra of Vatsyayana the text of which is in Sanskrit appears to have been translated and edited by Dr. B. N. Basu MB. (Calcutta) D.T.M., D.P.H., and it has run into several editions. The translation expressly mentions that

the sale of the book is strictly restricted tothe members of the medical and legal professionsand to students of Psychology and Sociology and the publication is sold for trieir personal use only and in no case should be lent or given away to others for obvious reasons.'

In the foreword to the translation it. has been men-tioned by Dr. Bagchi that a careful study of the whole book 'Kara Sutra' of Vatsyayana in original would show that if it has any interest at all, it is nothing more than historical and that although the book has inspired hundreds of treatises written by princes, nobles and wealthy dilettantes still the importance which is attached to it by some scholars is misplaced; and that although the 'Kam Sutra' is is Included by ancient writers in the class of Ayurveda i.e. Medical Science, the work has nothing in com-mon with the medical treatises except on two things, namely stereotyped classification of men and women according to their sexual habits and a list of aphrO' medical both of which have no inherent bearing on medical literature and consequently there was no reason for including the book in the Ayurveda. Vatsyayanas Kam Sutra is in Sanskrit. The translation of the book by Dr. Basu though in English, is not intended for all and sundry; and as has been expressly stated by the publishers, the translation is strictly restricted to the members of the medical and legal profession and to students of Psychology and Sociology,

The same may be said about the translation of 'Kalyanamallas Anaga Ranga by Tridibnath Ray wiht a foreword by Dr. Girindrashekar Bose, D.Sc. M.B., F.N.J. On the first page of that translation it is expressly stated that the sale of the book is strictly restricted to members of the medical and legal professions and to students of Psychology and Sociology and that the publication is sold for their personal use only and in no case should it be lent or given away to others for obvious reasons.

It is therefore clear that the respondents can-not put the publication which is in question in the present case on the same footing as the translation of 'Kam Sutra' of Vatsyayana by Dr. Basu or the translation of the Ananga Ranga by Mr. Ray, or the translation of the Rati Ratan Fradipika by Pandit Iyengar.

17. Section 292 of the Indian Penal Code, interalia, provides that whoever for the purposes of sale makes, produces or has in his possession any obscene book, paper, representation or figure or anyother obscene object whatsoever, or takes part in or receives profits from any business in the course of which he knows or has reason to believe that any such obscene objects' are, for any of the purposesspecified in Clause (a) of Section 292 made, produced or in any manner put into circulation, shall be puni-shed.

The word 'obscene' is not defined in the Penal Code; but it may be taken as meaning offensive to chastity or modesty expressing or personating to the mind or view something, that delicacy, purity and decency forbid to be expressed; impure as obscene language obscene pictures anything expressing or suggesting unchaste and lustful ideas, imoure inde-cent, lewd. The idea as to what is deemed as obscene of course varies from age to age and from region to region dependent upon particular social conditions.

As has been observed bv Dr. Hari Singh Gour in the Penal Law of India, there cannot be an ini-mutable standard of moral values. If a publication is detrimental to public morals and is calculated to produce a pernicious effects in depraving and de-bounding the minds of the persons into whose handsit may come it will be seen as an obscene publication which it is the intention of the law to suppress. Anything calculated to inflame the passions is obscene.

Anything distinctly calculated to incite a reader to indulge in acts of indecency or immorality is obscene for example a book containing a description of defective sexual enjoyment with aovice for heightening and prolonging such enjoyment in the case of normal persons. A book may be obscene although it con tains but a simple obscene passage. A picture of a woman in the nude is not per se obscene.

For the purpose of deciding whether a picture is obscene or not one has to consider to a great extent the surrounding circumstances, the pose, the posture, the suggestive element in the picture, and the person or persons in whose hands it is likely to fall. The publication with which we have to deal is not a medical one. Neither is it sold to registered subscribers nor has its circulation or sale been restricted to members of the medical and legal professions and to students of Psychology and Sociology.

It is no justification that the matter published is by an eminent writer or is composed in a style not easily understood by all. In the present case Ram Lagan Pandey does not and cannot claim to be an eminent writer, nor can it be said that the book in Hindi is composed in a style which is not easily understood by all. There can be no doubt that the book was written, printed and published and brought into circulation for prurient tastes.

The probable effect of the publication was to prejudice public morals and decency. It was intended for those who have ardent sex appeal in them and it/ was for the delectation of the married and the unmarried for the gratification of their normal and abnormal sex appetites and it described varieties of sexual intercourse in a manner which to say the least was obscene, If the probable effect of the publication was to prejudice public morals and decency the accused must be taken to have intended the natural consequences of his acts.

As was observed by Alderson B. in Gathercole's case, (1838) 2 Lewin 237 (A), 'every man, if he be a rational man must be considered to intend that which must necessarily follow from what he does. And in R. v. Dixon, (1814) 3 M and Section 11 (B), Lord Ellenborough C. J. said that it is a universal principle that when a man is charged with doing an act of which the probable consequences may be highly injurious, the intention is an inference of law resulting from the doing of the act.'

Therefore even if the object of publicising the book in question was innocent (which we cannot say it was in this case), the contention that no offence was committed is not in otic judgment well founded. If the publication is obscene, it is an offence against the Act, although there was no intent on the part of the publishers to corrupt morals.

As was observed by Cockburn C. J. in R. v. Hicklin, (1868) 3 Q. B. 360 (C) and approved in R. v. Reiter, (1954) 1 All E. R. 741 (D) the test of obscenity is this, 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 and in determining whether or not such a book is obscene regard must be had to that book alone; other books not the subject of charges may not be referred to.

See also the summing up of Stable, J, in R. v. Martin Seeker and Warburg Ltd., (1954) 2 All E. R. 683 (E).

18. Publication of indecent matter may be justified if it is genuinely in. the. interests or for thepurposes of art, science or any other form of learning. The justification must however, depend on the facts of the particular case on the form of the matter, the circumstances of its publication and the nature of the accused's business. In other words if the necessary or natural effect of a publication is prejudicial to the public morality or decency the motive of the accused in publishing the obscene matter is immaterial.

If the work is manifestly obscene the accused must be taken to have published it with an unlawful intent and he cannot be heard to say that though he broke the law, he did so from a wholesome or salubrious motive and not for gain: See (1868) 3 Q. B. 360 (C) Steele v. Brannan, (1872) 7 CP 261 (F) and R. v. De Montalk, (1932) 23 Crl. App. Rep. 182 (G). Some matter may be properly published, for example, to practitioners or to students of medicine or surgery the publication of which to boys or girls or even to the public indiscrminately. would necessarily tend to the corruption of morals and therefore be illegal.

19. On the side of the prosecution there was the evidence of Sub-Inspector Shah Mohmood Alam of the District Intelligence Staff who deposed that what is contained in the book, particularly the passages at p. 393 are definitely obscene. There was further the statement of Inspector J. A. Lari of the Criminal Investigation Department who stated that the book is obscene on account of the topics contained at pp. 222 and 223 and also, at pp. 37l to 400 particularly those contained at pp. 393 to 395. Sri Lari further stated that the nude picture on the front page is also obscene, regard being had to all the attendant circumstances.

20. On the other side there was the statement of Sri Gauri Nath D. W. 4, Examiner of the Government Sanskrit College, Banaras and Calcutta Sanskrit College Banaras who stated that he has read the 'Kam Sutra' of Vastayayana the Ananga Ranga' and the Rati Ratan Pradipika' as also the Kokshastra of the respondents and he was of opinion that no portion of the book encourages Sexuality. We are not in agreement with the statement of Sri Gauri Nath D. W 4. The matter judged from all the attendant circumstances of the case leads us to a contrary conclusion.

21. Bearing in mind the principles enunciated above, if we examine the matter under question we are definitely of opinion that it constitutes obscene matter contemplated under Section 292 of the Indian Penal Code. The publication is intended to be sold to pruriently minded adolescents, all and sundry in order to stir the sex impulses and lead to sexual and impure thoughts. The publication is therefore obscene.

The general character and the dominant effect of the publication is obscene impure, indecent and manifestly tending to the corruption of youth. It is plainly intended to be fair (fare ?) for the lewd and the filthy minded who may secure it from the publishers or the book-seller on payment of a small amount. It does not become less smutty or more sanctified because the information has been copied from simi-lar works. Therefore the learned Magistrate was not at all justified in coming to the conclusion that it did not constitute obscene matter falling within the mischief of Section 292 of the Indian Penal Code.

We are therefore of opinion that the respondents are clearly guilty under Section 292 of the Indian Penal Code in regard to the publication known as the Asli Kokshastra with its outer cover containing the nude picture. We accordingly allow the State appeal, convict the respondents Thakur Prasad Ganesh Prasad and Ram Lagan under Section 292, I. P. C. and sentence each of them to a fine of Rs. 100/- in default of payment of which each of them shall undergo three weeks simple imprison ment.

22. Under the Provisions of Section 321 ofthe Code of Criminal Procedure and in terms of thedicta laid down in Paget Publications, Ltd. v.Watson (1952) 1 All E. R. 1256 (H), which weapprove, we direct that all the copies of the offending book styled as 'Asli Kokshastra together withthe outer covers thereof containing the nude pictureseised and produced in the case b,e destroyed.


Save Judgments// Add Notes // Store Search Result sets // Organizer Client Files //