A PIL has been filed before the Allahabad High Court seeking a blanket ban on streaming of web series "XXX - Season 2" on subscription based video platform- ALT Balaji, allegedly for disrespecting the Indian Army and their uniforms.
The petition has been filed by one Anniruddha Singh, brother-in-law of an Indian soldier, seeking ban on the show produced by Ekta Kapoor, which is allegedly tarnishing and maligning the social reputation of wives of army officers.
As per the petition, in Episode 1 of the series, the wife of Ex-Colonel of the Indian Army is shown to be an adulterous woman, who eventually tears of the Indian Army Uniform in an "erotic manner".
"The depiction in broadcasting of this episode sends out the message that the wives of the officers of Indian Army indulge themselves in extra-marital affairs and performs Adultery behind the backs of the officers when they are serving the nation," the plea states.
The petition, filed through Advocates Ankur Verma, Abhinav Gaur and Dhananjai Rai further states that portrayal of lives of army officers' spouse in such a derogatory light may cause "irreparable damage" to the mental peace and psychological health of the soldiers and may negatively impact their performance.
It is further alleged that "the act of tearing apart the uniform of the Indian Army with the State Emblem of India is very disrespectful to the sentiments of Lakhs of officers retired and now serving in the Indian Army as it their pride and honor and not just a piece of cloth meant for entertainment.
…using the uniform in an erotic comedy-drama web series as a cheap prop is the not just callous and insensitive but an outrageous insult to it and the sentiments associated with it."
It is submitted that the impugned representations are punishable under the Indecent Representation of Women ( Prohibition) Act 1986, the State Emblem of India (Prohibition of Improper Use) Act, 2005 and various relevant provisions of the Indian Penal Code and the Information Technology Act, 2000.
Inter alia, it is alleged that such representations are in clear derogation of the dictum of the Supreme Court to block the publication or transmission of obscene material in any electronic form, transmitting of material containing sexually explicit act or conduct and also publishing or transmitting of material depicting children in sexually explicit act or conduct forthwith.
The Petitioner states that while Freedom of Expression is a fundamental right, reasonable restrictions on speech, as contained under Article 19(2) of the Constitution must also be observed.
It is submitted that the armed forces are a special service and they need differentiated treatment, in terms of Article 33 of the Indian Constitution.
"This very article that takes away the basic right from armed forces implicitly expects safeguard of at least the honour of forces. Those safeguarding the country cannot be exposed to insults and mocking," the plea states while urging the court to stop the broadcast/ airing of the Web Series on the online platform ALT Balaji and any other platform where it is being broadcasted.
The Petitioner further seeks that the Respondents be directed to pay exemplary costs that may be deposited in the National Defense Fund, so as to deter such actions in the future. A direction is also sought on the Respondents to issue a public apology to the Indian Army, in a national Newspaper and on National Television.