Delhi High Court seeks Centre response on steps taken to regulate obscene content on OTT

The Delhi High Court has asked the Centre to respond to a March 6 decision of the court wherein the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology was directed to take steps to enforce its rules on content containing obscene language with respect to intermediaries such as OTT platforms.

A single-judge bench of Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma has in its April 12 order noted that the HC had rendered certain directions in its judgment on March 6 in a plea challenging orders directing for registration of an FIR against TVF Media Labs Pvt Ltd, the casting director of web series ‘College Romance’ and its lead actors.

The HC had pulled up TVF Media Labs, which is streamed on platforms such as SonyLiv, YouTube, and the petitioner’s own platform — TVF Play. The court said that “online content curator” and “intermediaries” are in clear violation of Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code), Rules 2021 as neither there was any classification nor any warning regarding the profanity of language or excessive use of expletives.

“The web series was available to every age group. Therefore, this web series also stood covered under violation of the Rules of 2021,” the HC had said.

On April 12 the HC noted that no report had been received in this regard and asked the standing counsel for Union of India, Monika Arora, who was present in court to accept notice on behalf of the Electronics and Information Technology Ministry and I&B Ministry. Arora sought some time to file a reply.

The HC listed the matter for hearing next on April 25.


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