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Some OTT Platforms Showing Pornograpic Material, Says Supreme Court

Neha Singh

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today called for screening of video content on OTT (Over The Top) platforms, saying "even pornograpic material is being shown" on some of them. There should be a mechanism to screen such programmes, the top court said as it directed the centre to place before it the recent guidelines of the government to regulate social media platforms.

"Now watching movies on internet and OTT has become common. We are of the view there must be some screening," Justice Ashok Bhushan said while hearing an appeal by India head of Amazon Aparna Purohit, who has challenged an order by the Allahabad High Court in the ongoing investigation against the web series 'Tandav'.

Tandav, a nine-episode political thriller starring Bollywood A-listers Saif Ali Khan, Dimple Kapadia and Mohd Zeeshan Ayyub, started streaming in January this year on Amazon Prime OTT platform.
"A balance has to be struck as some OTT platforms are also showing pornographic materials on their platforms," the bench, also comprising Justice R S Reddy, said.

The bench asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to place before it the recent guidelines of the government to regulate social media platforms on Friday, when it would hear the plea.

Earlier, the top court, on January 27, had declined to grant interim protection from any coercive action to Ali Abbas Zafar, Director of the web series, Ms Purohit, producer Himanshu Mehra, the show's writer Gaurav Solanki and actor Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub and asked them to seek bail from courts concerned in the FIRs lodged in connection with the web series.

Now, Ms Purohit has appealed to the top court against the Allahabad High Court's February 25 order declining anticipatory bail to her.

Making strong observations while rejecting Ms Purohit's anticipatory bail plea, the High Court in its order had noted that "such people make the revered figures of the religion of majority community source of earning money in a most brazen manner taking benefit of the liberal and tolerant tradition of the country."
During the hearing in the Supreme Court today, senior lawyer Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Ms Purohit, argued that around 10 cases have been filed against his client despite Ms Purohit being just an employee, and not the producer which streamed the web series on the OTT platform. 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.

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