The debate about links between pornography and sex crime mirrors other largely unresolved controversies globally about whether violent video games cause gun crime or if gangster rap encourages anti-social behavior.
Some experts deny any link, pointing to stable or declining incidences of rape in some countries where pornography has gone from scarcity to ubiquity in the past 15 years, thanks to its availability on the Internet.
Others say the Internet provides a forum for criminally minded perverts to meet and vocalize their darkest desires. It also creates an industry that produces ever more depraved and damaging material.
The Supreme Court ruling in India will set a new legally binding precedent and could force the government to find a way to ban one of the most searched for subjects on Google.
“In terms of the larger debate, whether porn leads to violence, I don’t think anyone should have a knee-jerk reaction and say it does,” Indian Deputy IT Minister Milind Deora said on Tuesday. “We are a liberal society and we don’t want to get into the space of censoring content.”