Monday, August 15, 2022

Centre tells Supreme Court it has prepared exhaustive guidelines for content on digital media and OTT platforms

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The Supreme Court today has been informed that Central government has brought the detailed guidelines for digital content on both digital media and Over The Top (OTT) platforms during the hearing of anticipatory bail plea moved by Aparna Purohit in a case against web series ‘Tandav’ on Amazon Prime. Aparna Purohit is the commercial head of Amazon Prime Video. 

A bench led by Justice Ashok Bhushan & Justice R. Subhash Reddy said there should be some kind of regulation to these OTT platforms. They are even showing pornography. 

During the hearing today counsel for the petitioner submitted that her client is only the employee of company. 

The court observed whether these OTT platforms should not be screened by somebody. 

The Counsel informed that the regulation was passed by the central government few weeks ago. 

The court asked Solicitor General to place the regulations on record and adjourned the hearing for tomorrow. 

The Counsel for the petitioner asked how these regulations are applicable to his case as the petitioner is only the employee of the Company. There are more than 10 cases filed against the Company. 

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. 

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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.

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.

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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.

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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