The Indian Supreme Court on Thursday slammed the Over The Top (OTT) platforms giving a statement in the recent Tandav case that said, “Few OTT Platforms are showing some kind of pornographic content.” The Supreme Court said that there needs to be a regulation in place that would moderate the content that OTT services provide to Indian masses.
The apex court’s statement came while it was hearing a petition filed by Amazon Prime Video India head Aparna Purohit in the Tandav case. The Supreme Court bench comprising of Justices Ashok Bhushan and R Subhash Reddy said, “A balance has to be struck as some OTT platforms are also showing pornographic materials on their platforms.” Additionally, the judges also fixed Aparna Purohit’s hearing on the anticipatory bail plea for Friday.
The Supreme Court also asked the Centre’s Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to submit before it the recent guidelines of the government which aims to regulate social media and OTT platforms on Friday when it would hear Aparna Purohit’s plea. “Please submit the regulations on OTT platforms. We are of the view that there should be some screening of such programs. At times they are showing pornography too,” Justice Ashok Bhushan said.
Earlier, the Allahabad High Court had rejected Purohit’s anticipatory bail plea in connection with the FIRs that were lodged against her web series ‘Tandav’. The Allahabad high court noted that sentiments of the ‘majority community’ were hurt by the display of characters of their faith in a derogatory manner. The High Court was also of the opinion that it is one’s duty to respect the feelings of the people with different faiths even when creating a work of fiction.
Later, Purohit ended up challenging the order and sought justice from the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court will now hear Purohit’s plea that challenged Allahabad High Court’s order on Friday
Meanwhile, on Thursday, March 4, Mukul Rohtagi who represented Purohit in Supreme Court labeled the case against her as “shocking”. Rohtagi said how Purohit is merely an employee of Amazon and neither the producer nor an actor and still fighting 10 cases related to the web series against her.
The ‘Tandav’ Case:
Tandav is a political thriller that stars Bollywood actors Saif Ali Khan, Mohd Zeeshan Ayyub, Dimple Kapadia, Tigmanshu Dhulia and more. After its release, the show received pushback from people for the inappropriate depiction of Indian deities, Uttar Pradesh police and an adverse depiction of a character that played the Indian Prime Minister in the show.
Several political leaders raised their voices against the show, its actors, and its creators. FIRs for arrest were lodged against Saif Ali Khan, Zeeshan Ayyub and Amazon Prime Video India head Aparna Purohit.
On January 19, 2021, an FIR was lodged in the name of one Balbir Azad in Greater Noida which alleged that the show depicted the Uttar Pradesh police in a bad light. The FIR also alleged that the show deliberately showed Hindu gods and goddesses in a bad light. Soon, FIRs from different states like Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Delhi were lodged.
Later, on January 27, the Supreme Court declined to grant protection to show’s director Ali Abbas Zafar, producer Himanshu Mehra, and show writer Gaurav Solanki and the actors of the show from any harmful action that may threaten them. According to the apex court, these individuals are were to seek bails from the respective courts wherein the FIRs were lodged in the connection with the web series.
Aparna Purohit, who was denied anticipatory bail by the Allahabad High Court on February 25, appealed to the Supreme Court. According to the Allahabad High Court, “Purohit was not vigilant and has acted irresponsibly making her open to criminal prosecution in permitting streaming of a movie which is against the fundamental rights of the majority of citizens of this country and therefore, her fundamental right of life and liberty cannot be protected by the grant of anticipatory bail to her in the exercise of discretionary powers of this court.”
The high court in its ruling also observed that Western filmmakers refrain from ridiculing Jesus or Prophet, but Indian filmmakers have been repeatedly and unabashedly doing so with Indian gods and goddesses.