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Delhi HC gives MeitY time to frame rules for content on OTT platforms

The Delhi High Court on Monday granted some time to the Centre to inform it about the steps taken for regulating content on social media and over-the-top (OTT) platforms.

The high court on March 6 asked the Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) to take steps to enforce its rules on content creation with regard to the intermediaries such as social media and OTT platform, as notified in Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021 and make laws as it deemed appropriate.

A single-judge bench of Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma on April 12 noted that no report has been submitted by the MEITY In this regard and asked Monika Arora, Standing Counsel for Union of India, to accept notice on behalf of the ministry.

“Monika Arora, Standing Counsel for Union of India who is present in the court is requested to accept notice on behalf of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology as well as the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, being the ministries of the Government of India concerned with the issue in question. She seeks some time to file a reply,” said Justice Swarna Kanta Sharma.

The Delhi high court listed the matter for the next hearing on April 25.

The high court said framing rules and guidelines for content regulation on social media and OTT platforms need urgent attention. The court also underlined the need to take seriously the use of obscene language in the public domain which is open to children of tender age.

Coming down heavily on the TVF web series ‘College Romance’, the high court noted that the use of obscenities in the form of foul language degrades women as the expletives and obscenities refer to women being objects of sex.

While upholding an order of the plea to register an FIR against TVF, the show’s director and actor Apoorva Arora under the Information Technology Act, the court clarified that the direction to register FIR does not include a direction to arrest any of the accused.

The court had found excessive use of ‘swear words’, ‘profane language’ and ‘vulgar expletives’ in the series. As the profanity of language was such that it could not have been heard without shocking or alarming the people around, the judge had to watch the episodes with the aid of earphones in the chamber. Business Standard

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