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Tandav case: Some OTT platforms at times show pornographic content, says Supreme Court

"A balance has to be struck as some OTT platforms are also showing pornographic materials on their platforms," the top court said.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: March 4, 2021 5:43:14 pm
SC on Tandav row, Taandav, OTT platforms, Supreme Court, Amazon prime, Amazon Prime head bail plea, India news, Indian expressThe Centre’s announcement came amid the growing debate in the country to regulate digital platforms. (Photo: Amazon Prime Video India)

Hearing a petition on the web series ‘Tandav’, the Supreme Court Thursday said that a few over-the-top (OTT) platforms show “pornographic content” at times, and there should be a mechanism to screen such programmes.

“A balance has to be struck as some OTT platforms are also showing pornographic materials on their platforms,” the top court said.

During the hearing, a bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan and R Subhash Reddy also asked the Centre to place before it the draft guidelines on digital platforms, and fixed hearing on the anticipatory bail plea of Amazon Prime’s India head Aparna Purohit for Friday.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Purohit, termed the case against her as “shocking”, saying she is neither a producer nor an actor of the series but was still named in around 10 cases across the country.

The bench was hearing Purohit’s plea challenging the Allahabad High Court order that denied her anticipatory bail in connection with FIRs against her over ‘Tandav’.

On February 25, the Allahabad High Court had  rejected her anticipatory bail plea stating that “…the applicant had not been 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 grant of anticipatory bail to her in the exercise of discretionary powers of this court.”

“The irresponsible conduct against the inherent mandate of the Constitution of India by anyone affecting the fundamental rights of the large number of citizens cannot be acquiesced to only because of the tendering of unconditional apology after committing the alleged act of crime and indiscretion,” the court order said.

The court said that the reference to the disclaimer about the show being fictional “cannot be considered to be a ground for absolving the applicant of permitting the streaming of an objectionable movie online”.

The HC also said Purohit was granted interim protection from arrest on February 11 by the Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court, “but she was not co-operating with the investigation” and that “…this 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, since co-operation with investigation is a necessary condition for grant of anticipatory bail”.

A day after the High Court’s order, Amazon Prime Video issued a statement apologising for ‘objectionable’ scenes in the web series on Tuesday evening.

“Amazon Prime Video again deeply regrets that viewers considered certain scenes to be objectionable in the recently launched fictional series Tandav. This was never our intention, and the scenes that were objected to were removed or edited when they were brought to our attention. We respect our viewers’ diverse beliefs and apologise unconditionally to anyone who felt hurt by these scenes,” read a section of the statement.

Helmed by Ali Abbas Zafar and written by Guarav Solanki, Tandav featured an array of Bollywood personalities including the likes of Saif Ali Khan, Twinkle Khanna, Sunil Grover, Gauahar Khan, Anup Soni, Md Zeeshan Ayyub among others.

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