Bombay HC issues notice to centre to set up a pre-screening committee for web shows

Nagpur: On Friday, the Bombay High Court issued notices to the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting over a plea seeking regulation of the content of ‘web series’ or other programs which are broadcast directly through the internet.

A division bench of Justices Bhushan Dharmadhikari and M G Biradkar issued notices to the I&B Ministry, Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Ministry of Law and Justice, Ministry of Home Affairs and also the Nagpur police commissioner, seeking replies by October 31.

Divya Ganeshprasad Gontia, city lawyer, filed the public interest litigation (PIL) and requested the court to issue orders aimed at curbing the screening of vulgarity, violent scenes and crude language on web series. “The screening of pornographic contents, vulgar gestures and talks are overriding the Indian culture and morality,” Gontiya stressed in her PIL, reports HT.

Advocate Shyam Dewani, the petitioner’s lawyer, said, “We cited before the court various examples of uncontrolled vulgarity, obscenity in such shows and sought a direction to concerned authorities to take appropriate action against all such web service providers.”

Broadcasting nudity or vulgar scenes is a cognisable offence under IPC, Cinematograph Act, Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act 1986 and the Information Technology Act, 2000, he said.

The I&B Ministry should set up a pre-screening committee for web shows, films or other programs which are released directly on online platforms, the petition has demanded.

“If the websites are found violating provisions of Cinematograph Act, Indecent Representation of Women Prohibition Act 1986 and other similar Acts, then act tough against the guilty,” the high court directed the concerned ministries in the notices. “Take care that no series, national or international, is directly published on any platform,” the court said and ordered issuance of guiding principles, reported the national daily.

(With inputs from PTI)