In an interesting development, Delhi High Court has accepted a petition, which seeks to ban ‘vulgar’ content shown on Netflix, Amazon Prime and other on-demand entertainment apps.
Delhi High Court has asked Govt. to reply on this petition.
The verdict of this petition can have long-term effects on the regulation of online content in India.
Netflix, Amazon’s Vulgar Content Should Be Banned!
An NGO called Justice for Rights Foundation had filed a petition in Delhi High Court last month, seeking a complete ban on vulgar content shown by leading on-demand entertainment apps Netflix, Amazon Prime and others.
In yesterday’s hearing in the Delhi High Court, this petition has been accepted, and the Bench has asked the Centre to respond.
As per the petition, the content shared on these apps are ‘inappropriate, sexually explicit, religiously forbidden and legally restricted.’
A bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice V. Kameswar Rao at Delhi High Court now wants Govt. to respond.
What Is The Legal Issue Here?
Advocate Harpreet S. Hora, who is representing the NGO which has filed the petition, has argued that the online content shared by these online portals/apps violate several sections of Information Technology Act, 2000 and the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986.
Now, the issue is, that online content cannot be regulated in India, and there is no law which can empower any Govt. authority to place a ban on content unless it harms national security.
As per an RTI filed by the NGO, Govt. has admitted that there exists no provision of law to regulate online content.
Now, the petition argues that Article 19(1) of the Constitution of India has to “go hand in hand” with Article 19(2), hence, online content should be regulated, and banned if necessary.
Delhi High Court has asked the Govt. about any law or provision which can regulate and/or license online content.
What If Delhi HC Orders Such A Ban On Netflix/Amazon Content?
In case Delhi HC decides a verdict in favor of the petition, and orders a ban on content streamed on Netflix and Amazon Prime, then this will have a ripple effect, across India.
Using this verdict, petitioners can oppose any online content, and ask the Court to regulate it, ban it. Not only Freedom of Speech and Expression would be violated, but also Net Neutrality will be weakened.
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