The Bombay High Court on Tuesday sought replies from the state government, Mumbai police and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking action against the organisers of the AIB Knockout, a roast show held in the city on December 20 last year in which participants allegedly used obscene language.
The HC also allowed AIB members to intervene in the petition.
The PIL, filed by one Dr Sharmila Ghuge through her lawyer Shyam Dewani, alleges that the AIB members cracked jokes which were “an insult to not only to women, but all individuals” and that the video of the show, uploaded on YouTube, had given it a larger audience.
The PIL says that the show content, which is laced with expletives, repeated several times in the show, violates the provisions of Sections 292 and 294 (obscenity in public) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) as well as various other provisions of law.
“Moreover, adverse comments passed on various communities, such as Christians and Sindhis, not only violates Section 295-A (hurting religious sentiments) of the IPC, but also deeply hurts the sentiments of public at large. Similarly, the use of smutty and vulgar gestures during the show and indecorous and undignified remarks on women with reference to rape violates Section 23 of the Indecent Representation of Women’s Act,” it alleges.
AIB members Tanmay Bhat, Rohan Joshi, Gursimram Khamba and Ashish Shakya, through their lawyer Mahesh Jethmalani, have sought dismissal of the PIL, arguing that the petition “directly” affects their livelihood and jeopardises their fundamental rights. They also argued that the petitioner had not registered any complaint with any government arm or police, and instead moved the High Court directly.
After hearing both sides, Justices V M Kanade and Revati Mohite Dere said if people had an objection, they could file defamation suits.
The next hearing in the matter has been kept for March 3.
The state government has already ordered probe into the show following complaints by several individuals and organisations. Censor board’s member Ashoke Pandit too had come down heavily on it.