Thursday, February 22, 2024

Supreme Court observes Centre’s new OTT guidelines silent on checking pornography

The Solicitor General Tushar Mehta assured the bench for fresh legislation consideration by the Central Government.

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The Supreme Court today has observed that newly formed guidelines issued by the Centre for regulating Over The Top (OTT) platforms does not have mechanism to check pornography content. 

The Solicitor General Tushar Mehta assured the bench for fresh legislation consideration by the Central Government. 

A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan and R. Subhash Reddy was hearing the anticipatory bail application filed by Amazon’s Aparna Purohit in an ongoing investigation into alleged web series ‘Tandav’ on Amazon Prime. The Court has granted interim protection from arrest to Aparna Purohit while directing her to cooperate in an ongoing investigation. 

During the hearing today, Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi complains about an oral observation by court made yesterday that his client Amazon shows porn. 

SG Mehta objected and said that the court didn’t mean that kind of porn. 

Rohatgi replied, I can show u 10k movies on Amazon, there is no porn. I watch these movies in the evenings. These are great movies. 

Yesterday the Apex Court was informed by Centre that it had brought the detailed guidelines for digital content on both digital media and Over The Top (OTT) platforms. Following which the Court had directed it to place them on record before the Court. The Court had made a oral observation that these OTT platforms even shows phonographic content. 

The Court was hearing the Special Leave Petition filed by Aparna Purohit challenging the Allahabad High Court order which had dismissed her anticipatory bail application in a case related to web series ‘Tandav’ on Amazon Prime. 

An FIR was registered against Aparna Purohit under Sections- 153(A)(1)(b), 295-A, 505(1)(b) 505(2) I.P.C., Section 66 and 67 of the Information Technology Act and Section 3(1)(r) of S.C./S.T. Act, Police Station- Rabupura, Greater Noida, District- Gautam Buddh Nagar.

Also Read: Kerala gold smuggling case: Supreme Court refuses to stay bail granted to IAS officer Sivasankar on ED appeal

The FIR was filed against the Top Amazon Prime executive and other co accused for the derogatory depiction of Hindu deities and promoting religious enmity through web series shown on Amazon Prime Video, which is an online movie OTT platform.

The movie has been directed by co-accused, Ali Abbas Zafar. According to the FIR, the content of the movie is affecting the image of the Uttar Pradesh Police adversely. In a Dial 100 police vehicle, two actors are shown travelling with open doors in a police uniform, consuming liqour and hurling abuses.

Aparna Purohit’s Senior Counsel before the High Court had submitted that the web series in dispute is a work of fiction and all the places, events, characters and incidents are imagination of the author. He said, a disclaimer is included in the movie in this regard. The cast and crew of the web series Tandav issued an unconditional apology on January 18, 2021 and have removed the offensive scenes and now there is no offensive material in the series.

Also Read: Tandav row: Supreme Court grants interim protection from arrest to Amazon’s Aparna Purohit

The High Court had noted in its order that the petitioner was granted interim protection from arrest by the order dated on February 11, 2021 by a co-ordinate Bench but she was not co-operating with the investigation.

“The conduct of the applicant shows that she has scant respect for the law of the land and her conduct further disentitles her to any relief from this Court, since co-operation with investigation is a necessary condition for grant of Anticipatory bail,”

-had said the High Court. 

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