Why do people commit the heinous crime of child pornography? How are child pornographers different from those involved in actual sexual harassment? The introduction of relevant regulations will help contain this threat. Or is there anything else we can do? These are the questions that today’s humanity needs to find out.


The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) conducted searches at 59 locations across 20 States and one Union Territory, as part of a pan-India drive against the circulation and sharing of child sexual abuse material.

One of the major CBI-led global operations in recent times, Operation ‘Megha Chakra’ is a rapid response to online child sexual exploitation with international linkages and organised cyber-enabled financial crimes. The operation deals with a case where victims, accused, suspects and conspirators are located across global jurisdictions. This has required an internationally coordinated law-enforcement response.

As part of Operation ‘Megha Chakra’, the CBI on Saturday raided 59 locations in 21 states and UTs across India on Saturday. The operation is internationally coordinated and one of the biggest crackdowns on online circulation of Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM).

Why is the Operation named ‘Megha Chakra’?

The name of the operation stems from its target – cloud storage, which is being used to circulate the material online. Hence, the codename ‘Megha Chakra’. CSAM peddlers across India have been hit by the CBI, which was also India’s first law enforcement agency to set up a cybercrime unit. 

As per preliminary scrutiny, the “presence of a huge quantity of CSAM (Child Sexual Abuse Material) in several electronic devices” has allegedly been revealed in the electronic devices recovered.

“The operation will collate information from law enforcement agencies in India, engage with agencies globally and coordinate closely through Interpol channels to combat online child sexual exploitation and such organized cyber criminal activities,” the agency said.

Defining child pornography

“child pornography” means any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a child which includes a photograph, video, digital or computer-generated images indistinguishable from an actual child and images created, adapted, or modified, but appear to depict a child

To be very specific, section 2(d) of the POCSO Act defines a ‘child’ to be any person who has not attained the age of eighteen years. 

On an international level, there is one Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography (OPSC) that deals with the issue of child pornography. According to Article 2 of the OPSC, child pornography includes the depiction of a child involved in either real or simulated explicit sexual conduct as well as the revealing of sexual body parts of a child mainly with sexual motives.

The sharing of child pornography has increased rapidly around the world over the last few years. In 1998, he surpassed 3,000 reported child sexual abuse images, and in just ten years he had grown to over 1,000. The number exceeded 1 million for the first time in  2014. By late 2018, the number of reported cases had risen to 18.4 million for him, more than a third of all cases reported to date. 21.7 million cases were reported in 2020, an estimated  28% increase over 2019. It’s clear from these startling statistics that child pornography is in high demand, but the question is why?

 In the case of older people, most of the persons watching child porn are either paedophiles, hebephiles, or ephebophiles. These are the people attracted or sexually oriented or interested in children or mid to late adolescents. It is surprising to know that in the view of many of them, it is their love towards those children. Other than these, many sadists just take pleasure in watching those children in pain while they are being molested.

All these rising demands of child porn from these people would be ineffective if there was no means to fulfil them in the first place. Here comes the role of the internet which has become the nucleus of sharing such materials making them more popular. The advancement of digital technology and internet expansion has contributed a lot to the shooting up of the child pornography market. The videos are easily available and affordable and even conceal the viewer’s identity, hence increasing the number of people watching the same.

The general provision relating to Child Pornography

Sexual abuse among children in India has grown rampantly over the years, and a recent report by the Ministry of Women and Child Development stating that more than 50% of children have been abused comes as an eye-opener. Sexual abuse of children has not been a new phenomenon but has prevailed in society for a very long time. However, the attempts to check this phenomenon have been minimal, leading to a rise in child sexual abuse.

Even after repeated demands by various stakeholders to enact a new law to protect children, such demands fell on deaf ears. Finally, the Government of India after preparing a draft Bill in the year 2006, passed the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012. This special legislation ensures the protection of children from sexual offences and finally allows for stricter punishment for such paedophiles.

There are various laws in India to protect and promote the children of the country. In the Constitution itself, Article 21 provides for the right to life and liberty, Article 24 does not allow children below fourteen years to work in a mine, or factory or engage in hazardous employment. Article 39(f)makes it obligatory for the State to direct its policy towards securing the health and strength of children and to give them opportunities and facilities to develop healthily and Article 45 provides that the State shall endeavour to provide early childhood care and education to children below the age of six years. There also exist special laws for crimes against children, such as the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1986, the Child Marriage Restraint Act, the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986 and The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000.

The Penal Code, 1860 and The Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 govern the substantive and procedural parts of criminal offences, including those which apply to children. Since no special provisions governing the abuse of children, the same laws apply to the adults and children of the country. The laws governing sexual offences include Sections 375 (rape), 377 (unnatural offences) and 354 (outraging the modesty of women) under the Penal Code. There are also offences against minor girls i.e. Section 366-A (inducement or force or seduce to illicit intercourse), Section 372 (selling of girls for prostitution) and Section 373 (buying of girls for prostitution). However, these laws are not comprehensive or adequate to handle such grave offences, such as tender-aged children. These provisions are also biased towards women and are not substantively or procedurally enough to meet the special needs of sexual abuse among children.

Despite such general laws, the State of Goa passed the Goa Children’s Act, 2003 to protect, promote and preserve the interests of children in Goa and to create a society that is proud to be child-friendly. The act divides the offences into a grave sexual assault which covers different types of intercourse- vaginal, oral, anal, use of objects, forcing minors to have sex with each other, deliberately causing injury to the sexual organs and making children pose for pornographic photos or films;  sexual assault which covers sexual touching with the use of any body part or object, voyeurism, exhibitionism, showing pornographic pictures of films to minors, making children watch others engaged in sexual activity, issuing of threats to sexually abusing a minor, verbally abusing a minor using vulgar and obscene language; and incest which is the commission of a sexual offence by an adult or a child who is a relative through ties of adoption. Thus, this was the only legislation of India limited to Goa, where there were special laws to protect children from sexual abuse.

The lack of adequate laws was also mentioned in various cases before the Supreme Court of India. In Bachpan Bachao Andolan v. Union of India, the petitioners wanted the intra-State trafficking of young children, their bondage and forcible confinements, regular sexual harassment and abuses to be made cognizable under the Indian Penal Code. The Supreme Court of India also made a referral to the Law Commission of India on matters of child sexual abuse.

However, the Law Commission of India did not suggest any changes to the Act and in its 156th Report laid out the difference between the applicability of Sections 375 (rape), 377 (unnatural offences), and 354 (outraging the modesty of women).

The Law Commission stated that the cases of penile penetration were covered under Section 375, the unnatural offences such as carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal were taken care of by Section 377 and the penetration of finger or inanimate object into the vagina or anus against the wish of a woman or female child would be covered by Section 354.

The justification given by the Law Commission was that the gravity of these various offences was different and thus, the offences mentioned under Sections 354 and 377 should not be brought under the clause of rape or be given such harsh punishment thus there was no need to bring any new law into the picture. However, one feels that all the above-mentioned offences are heinous and there should be stricter punishment imposed on such offenders.

In the absence of stricter guidelines for victim protection, the Supreme Court itself formulated various guidelines for rape victims. The court stated that due to the inducement of extreme fear or due to the shocked State of the victim, the victim may not be able to give full details of the incident, which may lead to a miscarriage of justice. The questions thus posed to the victim in court may lead to embarrassment of the victim, due to which a victim may not be comfortable, and thus, the Court asked the Presiding Officer rather than the opposing counsel to pose the relevant questions to the victim.

The Court also asked the victims to be allowed breaks and ample time to answer the questions. The Court also suggested holding such trial the camera, to make the victim more comfortable, to ensure that the victim can answer the questions with ease, and so that the victim is not hesitant and is telling the truth.

Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012
The Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act, 2012 was enacted with the object to protect children from offences of sexual assault, sexual harassment, and pornography and to provide for the establishment of Special Courts for the trial of such offences and matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. The Act derives its power from Article 15(3) of the Constitution of India, which empowers the State to make special provisions concerning children. Article 39(f) of the Constitution of India provides for the State to direct its policy to secure the tender age of children so that they are not abused and their childhood and youth are protected against exploitation. The State also aims to fulfil its acceptance of the Convention on the Rights of Child, which was acceded by India on 11-12-1992.

The Convention essentially highlights the measures that need to be undertaken by the State to prevent:
(1) inducement or coercion of a child to engage in any unlawful sexual activity,

(2) the exploitative use of children in prostitution or other unlawful sexual practices,
(3) the exploitative use of children in pornographic performances and materials.

At the same time, the Act aims to ensure the proper development of the children and aims to protect their privacy and confidentiality through the judicial process and ensure the physical, emotional, intellectual and social development of the child.

Chapter 3 of the Act (The using of the child for pornographic purposes) is an offence

The term here means that the usage of the child in any such form of media including programs or advertisements by television channels, the internet or any other electronic form or the printed form which may or may not be for personal use or distribution may be an offence if it is used for sexual gratification.

This includes the representation of sexual organs, usage of a child in real or simulated sexual acts or indecent or obscene representation of a child. The Act mandates a punishment of a maximum of five years and in the second conviction this may extend up to seven years with a fine. If the person also takes part in such an act that constitutes the abovementioned sexual acts/assaults, he would be liable for life imprisonment.
Similarly, a person who stores pornographic material for commercial purposes in any form involving a child shall be punished with imprisonment extending up to three years or a fine or both. The legislation not only punishes the offender who commits such acts but also persons who abet or attempt to commit such an act. A person who abets the commission of the offence by instigating, conspiring, or intentionally aiding by any act or omission would be liable for the offence and would be punishable for up to one year or with a fine or both.

The Act seems to be a very comprehensive piece of legislation. The Act starts from defining the various offences to punishing persons abetting such an offence. The highlight of the Act is the procedure and the safeguards meant to protect and make the child feel safe so that there is the minimal long-term impact due to the heinous crime.


Child pornography crimes are not just crimes, but a series of crimes and harsh consequences. It starts with the sexual abuse of children who probably don’t even understand what’s happening to them, and knowing about it doesn’t make it better. Spread among certain scary people. They take great pleasure in seeing these children suffer because of exploitation and inspire them to do it themselves. Developed among people,  many of them even become successful, which leads to more crimes.

A child is someone who is just beginning life and has many years to go. However, when a child becomes a victim of a violent crime like child pornography, it becomes very difficult for the child to lead a normal life afterwards. Such an incident would forever leave such a child with stigma.

We also found that in a significant number of child sexual abuse cases, the child knew the perpetrator, and the perpetrator could be a relative, family friend, teacher, etc., even more, disappointing because the kid here trusted that person and didn’t expect it to happen. What could be more disappointing than the fact that the kids aren’t even safe in their own homes?

There is no doubt that governments are taking various measures to combat this evil, including B. Pass laws such as the IT Act dealing with POCSO, especially the issue of child pornography. Although the government occasionally bans websites that offer this obscene content, child abuse statistics have yet to decline. Looking at the current scenario, it is clear that governments will take more and more steps on this issue, but is there anything that can be done on an individual level to help with this issue?

One of the main issues of such crime is that it is not aware that it does not become a topic. So maybe it’s time for us to speak up and let our kids know what’s going on. It is extremely important to provide appropriate sex education to each individual so that they do not learn imperfectly from the outside and get lost in stupid ways.

Siddharth jain and Co.

Siddharth Jain & Co. is a full service law firm providing quality and innovative legal solutions to clients all over the world. Our portfolio of legal and quasi-legal services is offered through our head office in New Delhi. Siddharth Jain & Co. was established in 2015. We have a team of lawyers with expertise in different fields. Our expertise revolves around 39 service areas and we continue to enter into new markets continuously. We continue to join new prospects and new clients with us every passing day due to our commitment to quality-based services. Our idea of working involves strict adherence to specified goals and creative modes of achieving them. Siddharth Jain & Co. has always worked towards attaining excellence in every case or problem presented. We continue to strive to become the leader in providing legal services in the country and abroad. Our clientele includes clients from all over the world. With several awards in our profile, we proudly continue to move forward. We are always ready and prepared to welcome and embrace any new challenge. We have worked with and for government agencies. We have worked in rural areas beyond any reach of technology. We have worked with clients alien to law whatsoever. But we have always maintained our prime goal and target of client satisfaction and would continue to go so in future.

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