Report No. 42
14.11. Sections 284 to 29.-amended.- The same amendments are required in section 284 to 290.
14.12. Section 291.- No amendment is required in section 291.
14.13. Section 29.-Recommendation regarding expert evidence.-
Section 292 punishes the sale of obscene books, section 293 punishes the sale of obscene objects to young persons, and section 294 punishes obscene acts in public and also the singing of obscene songs in or near a public place.
Section 292 has been extensively amended very recently.1 An attempt has been made to lay down a test of obscenity, but since the words used are the same as Judges have,. before now, used in their judgments, it does not seem that the concept of obscenity has become any clearer, the practical problem still being the difficulty of deciding what is 'lascivious' and what 'appeals to the prurient interest', and what does or does not 'tend to deprave or corrupt'. Only the actual working will show whether the amendment is useful to the Courts.
More important than this attempted definition is the new exception, which allows a defence on the ground that the 'publication is in the interest of art or science or literature or learning'. This will actually turn on expert evidence, and it seems to have been assumed that such expert evidence would be permissible under section 45 of the Evidence Act. The assumption is probably well-founded, but it would be safer if, in the section itself a provision is specifically made for admission of expert evidence. We propose that the following sub-section may be added2 to section 292.-
"Where, in any prosecution under this section, the question is whether the publication of any book, pamphlet, paper, writing, drawing, painting, representation or figure is in the interest of science, literature, art or learning or other object of general concern, the opinion of experts as to its scientific, literary, artistic, academic or other merits may be admitted in evidence."
1. The I.P.C. (Amendment) Act, 1969 (36 of 1969).
2. Alternatively, the necessary amendment could be made in section 45 of the Evidence Act.
14.14. Section 293.- Section 293 needs no change.
14.15. Section 29.-Recommendation.-
The punishment provided in section 294 for singing obscene songs is imprisonment upto three months. We think that imprisonment is hardly necessary for such an offence, and propose to limit the' punishment to a fine not exceeding one thousand rupees.
14.16. Section 294.-Guidelines for authorising private lotteries.-
The last section in this Chapter (294A) prohibits lotteries except those run or authorised to be run by the State Government. No indication is given of the circumstances in which the State Government may authorise a lottery, and this kind of power entrusted to the State Government may be open to objection. We think it proper that broad guidelines should be inserted in this provision, to assist the State Government in deciding when to authorise a lottery.
A lottery in aid of a charity, for instance, may well be authorised, and so might a lottery confined to a small group or a lottery incidental to an entertainment, if there be no other objectionable features about it. We are suggesting that the State Government should be guided by such considerations although, of course, the discretion of the State Government is not to be unduly restricted.
14.17. Revision recommended.-
We also propose that the provision in section 294A should be amplified, and certain acts concerning the keeping of a lottery office or the running of a lottery should be specified and expressly made punishable. The new section should, we think, read thus.-
"294A. Offences in connection with lotteries.-(1) Whoever, in connection with any lottery promoted or proposed to be promoted, whether in India or elsewher.-
(a) prints any tickets for use in the lottery; or
(b) sells or distributes, or offers or advertises for sale or distribution, or has in his possession for the purpose of sale or distribution, any tickets or chances in the lottery; or
(c) prints, publishes or distributes, or has in his possession for the purposes of publication or distribution
(i) any advertisement of the lottery; or
(ii) any list, whether complete or not, of prize winners or winning tickets in the lottery; or
(iii) any such matter descriptive of the drawing or intended drawing of the lottery, or otherwise relating to the lottery, as is calculated to act as an inducement to persons to participate in that lottery or in other lotteries; or
(d) brings, or invites any person to send, into India for the purpose of sale or distribution any ticket in, or advertisement of, the lottery; or
(e) sends or attempts to send out of India any money or valuable thing received in respect of the sale or distribution, or any document recording the sale or distribution or the identity of the holder, of any ticket or chance in the lottery; or uses any premises, or causes or knowingly permits any premises to be used, for purposes connected with the promotion or conduct of the lottery; or
(g) causes, procures or attempts to procure any person to do any of the above-mentioned acts, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine, or with both.
(2) Nothing in this section applies in relation to a lottery which is a State lottery or is authorised by the State Government.
(3) The State Government may authorise a lottery with reference to this section, where it is satisfied tha.-
(a) the profits of the lottery are to be appropriated towards any charitable purpose; or
(b) participation in the lottery is confined to the members of a society or other group of persons, and is not open to the public; or
(c) the lottery is incidental to an entertainment; or
(d) it is otherwise in the public interest to authorise the lottery."