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OTT platform regulation: Supreme Court stays cases in High Courts

The bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud, MR Shah and Sanjiv Khanna issued the directions while hearing the Centre’s petition seeking transfer of pending cases in different High Courts for regulation of OTT platforms.

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed the proceedings in all the petitions seeking regulation of the content on the over-the-top (OTT) Platforms, including Netflix, Amazon Prime, ZEE5 etc. pending before the High Courts.

The bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud, MR Shah and Sanjiv Khanna issued the directions while hearing the Centre’s petition seeking transfer of pending cases in different High Courts for regulation of OTT platforms.

During the hearing, the Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the court that the High Courts are also hearing this matter. The Centre has filed a plea for clubbing of all these petitions before various high courts. 

On this, the Apex Court said that as long as the matter is pending in the court, no High Court will hear the matter. The court has listed the matter for further hearing after Holi vacations.

The court was hearing a batch of Public Interest Litigation(PIL) filed by Advocate Shashank Shekhar Jha, appearing for Justice for Rights Foundation, for regulation of content in over-the-top (OTT) platforms by an autonomous body.

The petition sought the set up of a proper board, institution or association to properly monitor content in OTT digital media platforms and apply censorship if needed. The court had issued necessary notices in this regard.

Also, the Central Government has filed an affidavit in the Apex Court regarding OTT platforms. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) said that according to the new rules, the content of OTT platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime is being monitored. 

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The ministry through an affidavit informed the Apex Court that a new rule for monitoring the OTT platform’s content – Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 was introduced this year. The court was told that there is a provision in sections 67,67A and 67B of this Act that the government can prohibit objectionable content.

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