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Censor board for non-film music: Delhi High Court seeks Centre’s response

The plea filed through Advocate Rishu Singh sought court's direction to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MI&B) to constitute a regulatory authority

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The Delhi High Court on Wednesday sought a response from the Ministry of Information Broadcasting and Electronics and Information Technology over a petition seeking setting up of a censor board for reviewing and certifying non-film music, their lyrics and music videos.

A division bench of Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Jasmeet Singh issued notice to both the respondents over the petition filed by Neha Kapoor and Mohit Bhadu and slated the matter for further hearing on May 17.

The plea filed through Advocate Rishu Singh sought court’s direction to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MI&B) to constitute a regulatory authority or censor board to censor and review the non-film songs, their lyrics and videos which are made available to the general public through various media platforms like television, YouTube, etc.

It also sought directions from the court to make it mandatory for composers of non-film songs to receive certification before such songs are made available in the public domain.

The plea also sought the court’s direction to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology to constitute a body to screen every non-film song and its contents including lyrics and video before they are released on the internet through any platform/ application.

“There is an immediate requirement of a regulatory authority/censor board to censor or review non-film songs, their lyrics and music video being played on various platforms like YouTube, Spotify, Gaana.com, Instagram etc. for public listening and viewing which are being shared in the society without any restrictions as such unregulated content has an adverse effect on the public, especially the youth, to instigate them to objectify/embarrass women and are against women rights to a free and fair society,” the plea said.

The plea further stated that if such content is not regulated the same would tantamount to a regressive approach when our country is still striving towards gender equality and not objectifying women and giving them a safe environment to live.

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The petition taking examples of various songs like Saiyan Ji by YoYo Honey Singh, Makhna by YoYo Honey Singh etc, said, “…contents of the obscene/ vulgar/demeaning non-film songs and videos question the dignity of women and clearly imply the objectification of women in the society and have the effect of instigating people to disrespect/ embarrass women especially.”

“Further such songs are clearly promoting drug/ alcohol abuse with their lyrics. That such lyrics are clearly against the moral values of Indian culture and society and is disgraceful on the face of it,” the plea said.

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