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SC favours OTT regulations; asks Centre to place norms before it by Friday

The top court stressed that there should be some screening of shows and web series being telecast on such platforms

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Supreme Court | OTT platforms | Amazon Prime Video

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The on Thursday asked the Centre to submit before it the regulations on Over The Top (OTT) platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime while stressing that there should be some screening of shows and web series being telecast on such platforms.

A Bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan said that some regulation is needed for as in some cases even "pornography is being shown" on such platform and a balance has to be maintained.

"We want to see the regulations because we are of the view that there should be some screening of these types of films/shows... What they are showing? They are showing pornography in some films. There should be some regulations. Balance has to be maintained," said Justice Bhushan.

It asked the Centre to place the recently framed regulation before it by tomorrow.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appearing for Centre told the Court that these platforms are showing filthy things with abuses too. He said regulations will be placed before the Bench tomorrow.

The Bench hearing an appeal of the commercial head of Amazon Prime Video, Aparna Purohit, against the Allahabad High Court order that denied anticipatory bail to her, in the ongoing investigation against the web series 'Tandav', adjourned it for tomorrow.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Purohit, contended that regulations have come and the Allahabad High Court order was not based on OTT regulations. It's about freedom of speech and expression, he added.

During the hearing, Rohatgi further said that she is an employee Of Amazon and not the producer and they are only publicity seekers filing cases all over India.

The High Court on February 25 declined to give protection from arrest to Purohit by dismissing the anticipatory bail application of her.

The Uttar Pradesh Police had filed an FIR against the top Amazon Prime executive for the derogatory depiction of Hindu deities and promoting religious enmity through the series.

The High Court in its order has noted that "such people make the revered figures of the religion of majority community the source of earning money in a most brazen manner taking benefit of the liberal and tolerant tradition of the country."

Making strong observations while rejecting Purohit's anticipatory bail plea in a case filed against her in Noida, Justice Siddharth said, "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."

Earlier on January 27, the had refused to grant interim protection from arrest to actors and makers of web series 'Tandav' and allowed them to approach High Courts for relief from arrest or quashing of FIRs.

Justice Ashok Bhushan while denying to grant interim protection from arrest however had agreed to hear the issue of transferring and clubbing several FIRs registered against them across the country and issued notice to complainants on the prayer.

'Tandav' actor Mohammad Zeeshan Ayyub, Purohit and the makers had approached the top court seeking protection from arrest on the FIRs registered against them for allegedly hurting religious sentiments and telecasting objectionable content.

'Tandav', a nine-episode political thriller that started streaming in January this year on Amazon Prime Over The Top (OTT) platform, featuring Saif Ali Khan, Dimple Kapadia and Ayyub, has created an uproar for allegedly hurting religious sentiments.

The petitions filed in January had requested the top court that criminal proceedings initiated against them for offences including hurting religious sentiments be quashed or alternatively club all the seven FIRs registered in different states and transfer them to a court in Mumbai.

Three FIRs were registered in Uttar Pradesh's Lucknow, Noida and Shahjahanpur. Two FIRs were lodged in Madhya Pradesh while one FIR each was lodged in Karnataka and Bihar. Apart from the FIRs, at least three other criminal complaints are pending in Maharashtra, Delhi and Chandigarh respectively.

FIRs were registered for the alleged inappropriate depiction of Uttar Pradesh Police personnel, deities, and adverse portrayal of a character playing the role of Prime Minister in the show.

FIRs mentions that the show portrayed the Hindu deity, Shiva, in "a poor light" as the actor playing him on-screen was shown using foul language.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Thu, March 04 2021. 14:42 IST
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