Obscene or artistic? The poetics and politics of the obscenity law in Indian art and literature

Bhagabati, Dikshit Sarma (2019) Obscene or artistic? The poetics and politics of the obscenity law in Indian art and literature. Indian Law Review, 3 (1). pp. 33-60. ISSN 2473-0599

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Review article charts how the obscenity law has been a shaping influence across different forms of media in India, especially literature and art. By foregrounding the effect of Section 292 of the Indian Penal Code on the lives of a few renowned creative professionals, this article reveals the shortcomings of a moralistic approach to obscenity. Over the course of the 20th century and the early years of the 21st, the law has undergone notable changes, some inspired by comparative law developments and some unique to the Indian context. Through a thematic arrangement of case law, this paper throws light on the Indian judiciary’s quest to gauge and penalize obscenity. The ideologies which are brought to bear on obscenity highlight the need for an objective test. By criticizing the existing legislative definitions of obscenity and its doctrinal development over time, this paper will map the trajectories towards that objective standard.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Section 292 | Obscenity | Literature | Art | Progressive writers | Hicklin test | Roth test
Subjects: Social Sciences and humanities > Arts and Humanities > Literature and Literary Theory
Social Sciences and humanities > Social Sciences > Law and Legal Studies
JGU School/Centre: Jindal Global Law School
Depositing User: Shilpi Rana
Date Deposited: 06 Jan 2022 05:54
Last Modified: 28 Jul 2023 10:34
Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1080/24730580.2019.1600214
Additional Information: The author would like to thank Prof. Dev Gangjee for his valuable editorial inputs.
URI: https://pure.jgu.edu.in/id/eprint/589


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