in Corporate Law
Asked February 07, 2014

Hicklin Test

  • 1 Answer

What is hicklin test And is it still applicable in India?

Answer 1

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Divya Maheshwari
The Hicklin test is a legal test for obscenity established by the English case Regina v. Hicklin (1868). At issue was the statutory interpretation of the word "obscene" in the Obscene Publications Act 1857, which authorized the destruction of obscene books. In the case the test of obscenity was stated as, “whether the tendency of the matter charged as obscenity is to deprave and corrupt those whose minds are open to such influences, and into whose hands a publication of this sort may fall.” The most famous case Ranjith Udeshi v. State of Maharashtra,( 1965 SCR (1) 65) in this case the appellant was the owner of a book stall which sold Lady Chatterley's Lover (unexpurgated edition) which inter alia contained, obscene matter and thereby committed an offence punishable u/s 292 of the I.P. Code. The court applied the hicklin test and held that the book mainly consists of a detailed description of their sexual fulfilment which corrupts the society. But now the supreme court has rejected the hicklin test and moved to community standard test.The Court had observed in Aveek Sarkar v. State of West Bengal (3rd February 2014) Criminal Appeal No 902 of 2004 that the decisions in such cases must be taken keeping in mind the contemporary national standards and not that of a group of sensitive persons. The Supreme Court by striking down the Hicklin test and upholding the more adaptive Community Standards test has done an admirable job. Community standard test is what the general people of society will accept rather than on a group of sensitive persons.
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