Computer Crime Research Center


HC allows porn convict access to computer in jail

Date: August 28, 2008

CHENNAI: He may have been convicted of a cybercrime and trafficking in women, but he cannot be denied the use of a computer in prison to give vent to his creativity and pursue medical knowledge.

This is the verdict of the Madras high court on a petition from Dr L Prakash, the surgeon sentenced to life last February for forcing women into prostitution and cyber-pornography.

Prakash, whose thriving online porn racket using men and women forced to perform sexual acts before the camera was busted in December 2001, will not, however, get to use his own computer, but only an official computer used for training prisoners. And the duration and content of his usage would have to be monitored, the court said.

Prakash had approached the court with a plea that he should be allowed to use his own laptop or desktop computer in prison.

However, the prison authorities contested his demand, arguing that as a cyber-crime convict, he was not entitled to use a computer. Further, the prison rules did not permit equipment and accessories that could be used for personal communication.

A division bench, comprising justice D Murugesan and justice V Periya Karuppaiah, resolved the issue by ruling that Prakash was not entitled to possess any computer on his own in his cell. "Nevertheless, his right to get education, acquire knowledge and enrich himself in the medical field and modern medical facilities cannot be curtailed," the bench ruled.

The court directed the superintendent of the Puzhal central prison to allow him to use any one of the computers already available in the prison, and prescribe timings for such usage. And mindful of the fact that Prakash had been convicted under Sec 67 of the Information Technology Act for posting prurient matter on the internet, the court asked the jail superintendent to 'supervise and monitor' as to whether he used the computer only for the purpose for which he approached the court - to write books and enrich himself in the medical field.

Prakash said he was the author of six books and numerous scientific articles in his field. And during his years of incarceration, he had narrated the Mahabharatha in English and penned 89 books on religion, self-improvement, humour and detective fiction.

Prakash, who was practising for more than 15 years at the time of his arrest, took to cyber-pornography along with an associate based abroad. With a domain name registered in the US, the duo ran a website that featured pornographic photos and videos.
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