Madras High Court: The Division Bench of N. Kirubakaran and B. Pugalendhi, JJ., while addressing the instant matter ordered an Interim direction directing the respondents to restrain the TV channels from telecasting obscene and vulgar programmes and Advertisements.

Telecast of vulgar and obscene programmes and advertisements

The instant petition was filed to seek direction for respondents to take immediate and effective steps including monitoring, prosecution, pre-censorship, etc. against the television channels and cable operators regarding, telecast of vulgar and obscene programmes and advertisements violating the programme code and advertisement code and other penal laws etc., and create adequate and easily accessible effective complaint Redressal Mechanism for lodging complaint and immediate redressal regarding telecast of vulgar and obscene programmes and advertisements in television.

Bench was shocked to note that in the television, about 10 p.m. all the television channels telecast some advertisements, which exhibit obscenity to promote the sale of condoms, which in fact, are being viewed irrespective of the age and absolutely available in all television channels.

Anybody who sees these programmes will be shocked by the pornographic content.

Nudity is exhibited in advertisements, which is punishable under Section 16 of the Cable Television Network (Regulation) Act, 1995. Firther, it was also stated that. as per Rule 7(1) of the Cable Television Network Rules, 1994, the programmes telecast should not offend “morality”, “decency” and “religious susceptibilities” of the subscribers.

As per Rule 7(2) (vi), the Cable Operators shall ensure that the portrayal of the female form, in the programmes carried in cable service is tasteful and aesthetic and is within the well established norms of good taste and decency.

However, in the programmes/advertisements, which are telecasted in the television in the name of selling condoms and aphrodisiacs, inner wears are in violation of the Cable Television Network Rules, 1994.

Minds of Youngsters and Children

Nudity is available in the name of Doctor’s advice as well as advertisements and it is freely available and is being viewed by all including the children.

Interest of justice requires to issue a direction as prayed for and also to safeguard the children and women, therefore interim direction restraining the telecast of vulgar and obscene programmes and advertisements violating the programme code and advertisement code and other penal laws etc., has been ordered.

Ministry of Information and Bradcasting gave it’s response as follows:

“…all programmes and advertisements telecast on private satellite TV Channels should be in conformity with the prescribed Programme and Advertising Codes enshrined under the said Act and the Rules thereunder, which contain a whole range of parameters to regulate programmes and advertisements. Appropriate action is taken as and when violation of said Codes is established.”

Court observed that there is no censorship for the advertisements and programmes which are being telecasted on Satellite TV Channels.

In view of the said, respondents should answer on the censorship of programmes telecast of satellite TV channels as contemplated under Section 5(A) of the Cinematographic Act 1952.[K.S. Sagadevaraja v. Secy., Ministry of Information and Broadcasting; WP (MD) No. 16087 of 2020, decided on 11-11-2020]

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