Censorship of Video Games BY AKSHIT GUPTA @LEXCLIQ

The gaming industry face a boom in this COVID pandemic. Due to the time being available to the people the alarming rate of time spent on video games is noticed. Though video games and E sports evolved as a source of income and entertainment for lot of people now as considerable amount of youth spending their time on the video games. But at the same time, it leads to other problems like legal, health and moral issues to the gaming industry as well as gamers. Due to these reason it is important to censor this entertainment industry.  

As the gaming industry is also increasing in India for last few years there are some laws and rules to be made example censorship. Gaming companies have right to carry on their business freely under Article 19(1)(g) of the Indian constitution, it can be restricted in the interest of decency and morality under 19(2) of the Indian constitution. As the business of the gaming industry can’t be an exception to that of the other legal business in the light of the freedom of trade, the reasonable restrictions could be imposed as mentioned in the constitution in case such business crosses the limits of any grounds imposed in Article 19(2).  

In the case of M.J Shivani V. State of Karnataka, it was held that though the owners of video games have freedom to carry on their business, they do not have any power to expose children too unregulated video games. Moreover, as mentioned in the case of Narendra Kumar V. Union of India, the supreme court attempted to review all the earlier restriction on the ground of “Reasonable restrictions” and held that the term restriction even extends up to prohibiting something if such a thing violates the ground of Article 19(2). Hence it can be said that video game can be banned or prohibited on the ground of morality and decency.  

Here this term morality and decency have a greater importance as to what amounts to morality and what to decency.  as some of the video games involve extreme violence, sexually explicit content the censorship will help to impose restriction on such games. In case of Ramesh Parbhoo v. Kashinath Kunte, the court held that there will be perspective on the notion of morality and decency.  

Article 39(f) of the Indian constitution is a directive principle for the safety and security of the children it states that the children shall be provided the environment in which they will prosper, develop in a healthy way along with the protection against exploitation and moral or material abandonment for youth and children. Though it is unenforceable, it is a suggestion for the government to amend the laws to achieve what is provided in this article.  

Section 292 of Indian Penal Code criminalizes the sale and distribution or publication of obscene material through any of the objects. Hence, if any video or online game publishes or contains obscene material that game can be censored under this section. In case of Abdul Rasheed v. state of Kerala, the court held that if a certain object which is obscene or contain obscene content or material is for personal use of the accused and not for publication or distribution, section 292 of IPC would not be charged. Hence, the players possessing video games that contain obscene material and are meant for personal use only can’t be charged under this section.  

Section 67 of the information technology act criminalizes sharing of obscene content or material in the electronic form including video games. Under this section the part of video game can be taken down if it violates the section. The punishment for violation under this section is 3years and fine up to 5 lakhs for first conviction and imprisonment of 5 years and fine up to 10 lakhs in a second conviction.  

Conclusion: 

These laws are mandatory in new India as the obscenity in video games is increasing the censor board is required which will regulate all these things which can affect the youth in a negative way as there is huge base of video games consumers in this regard.  

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