CLAT (Common Law Admission Test) 2020 MCQs Questions Paper Part 14

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The issue of Obscenity has vexed the Courts in India and abroad for a long time now. The intriguing question has always been the same, i.e.. , what should be the standards to qualify something as obscene in the eyes of law? In the United Kingdom, way back in 1868, the Court laid down the Hicklin test in Regina v. Hicklin (1868 L. R. 2 Q. B. 360) , and held that: The test of obscenity is 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. Hicklin test postulated that a publication has to be judged for obscenity based on isolated passages of a work considered out of context and judged by their apparent influence on most susceptible readers, such as children or weak-minded adults. However, this test was later rejected by most of the jurisdictions. There were many judgments where it was stipulated by the Indian Courts that, Obscenity has to be judged in the context of contemporary social mores, the current socio-moral attitude of the community and the prevalent norms of acceptability/susceptibility of the community, in relation to matters in issue. [For example, in Ranjit D. Udeshi v. State of Maharashtra AIR 1965 SC 881; Chandrakant Kalyandas Kakodar v. State of Maharashtra 1969 (2) SCC 687 etc.] These judgements indicated that the concept of Obscenity would change with the passage of time and what might have been obscene at one point of time would not be considered as obscene at a later period. This came to be known as Community Standards Test. In Bobby Art International & Ors. v. Om Pal Singh Hoon (1996) 4 SCC 1, the Court, upholding the Community standards test held that complete message and context of the objectionable scene/firm/picture etc. , need to be examined in order to find out whether the alleged material is obscene or not.

Question 71

A, daily local newspaper called Ramanand Bazar Patrika having wide circulation in Anandnagar published, on 1st July, 2019, an article with a picture of Boris Becker, a world-renowned Tennis player, posing nude with his dark-skinned fiancé by name Barbara Feltus, a film actress, which was photographed by none other than her father. The article states that, in an interview, both Boris Becker and Barbara Feltus spoke freely about their engagement, their lives and future plans and the message they wanted to convey to the people at large, for posing to such a photograph. Article picturises Boris Becker as a strident protester of the pernicious practice of Apartheid. Further, it was stated that the purpose of the photograph was also to signify that love champions over hatred. Will the alleged picture classify as an Obscene Material in India?

A. No, according to the Hicklin Test, it will not classify as Obscene.

B. Yes, according to the Community Standards Test, the picture will classify as Obscene.

C. No, according to the Community Standards Test, the picture will not classify as Obscene.

D. Both A, and C.

Question 72

The difference between Hicklin Test and Community Standards Test is:

A. The former focuses on the susceptibility of the minds of individuals to get corrupted while the later hinges upon the context, intended meaning and contemporaneous socio-cultural environment of the society.

B. As per Hicklin Test, a nude picture of a women per se can be obscene while as per the later, the picture should be suggestive of deprave mind and designed to excite sexual passion in persons who are likely to see it.

C. The former considers Obscenity as a changing concept with changing times while the later does not.

D. All of the above.

Question 73

The issue of Obscenity is fundamentally related with which of the following?

A. Freedom of Religion of an individual.

B. Freedom of Speech and Expression of an individual.

C. Right to Privacy of an individual.

D. All of the above.

Question 74

Consider the following situations. Choose the correct option as per the Hicklin՚s Test.

(1) . A Movie scene where there are rows of Jewish naked men and women, shown frontally, being led into the Gas Chambers of Nazi Concentration Camp. Not only they are about to die but they are stripped off their basic dignity in the last moments of their life.

(2) . The controversial movie scene of Phoolan Devi, the Bandit queen where she is paraded naked and made to draw water from the well within the circle of a hundred men.

A. 1 is Obscene but 2 is not.

B. 2 is Obscene but 1 is not.

C. Both 1 and 2 are Obscene.

D. Neither 1 and 2 are Obscene.

Question 75

An activist, while being semi-nude, allowed her body to be used as a canvas to paint on by her two minor children who were properly clothed. She uploaded this video of hers on an online platform with a message that she intended to normalize the female form for her children and not allow distorted ideas about sexuality to pervade their mind. An advocate who sees the video, registers a case of Obscenity against her. Is it a case of Obscenity as per the Community Standards Test?

A. This is a pure case of Obscenity and she is spreading it.

B. This is a pure case of Obscenity as well as Child Pornography as her children were exposed to her nudity.

C. This is not a case of Obscenity because as per the Community Standards Test the video must not be seen in isolation but in the contextual set up of the message that the activist has put on normalization of a female՚s sexuality.

D. This is a case of Obscenity as per the Community Standards Test as the video was blatantly obscene.

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