27 Sep 2023 5:37 AM GMT
The Supreme Court on Tuesday (26.09.2023), while considering an appeal by the makers of the TVF web series ‘College Romance’, said that it will look into whether Section 67A of the Information Technology Act,2000 would apply to profane language. The makers of the web series had approached the Supreme Court against the order of the Delhi High Court that had upheld the registration of...
The Supreme Court on Tuesday (26.09.2023), while considering an appeal by the makers of the TVF web series ‘College Romance’, said that it will look into whether Section 67A of the Information Technology Act,2000 would apply to profane language.
The makers of the web series had approached the Supreme Court against the order of the Delhi High Court that had upheld the registration of FIR against them under Section 67 and 67A of Information Technology Act,2000.
Section 67A of the IT Act, prescribes punishment for a person who publishes or transmits in electronic form material containing ‘sexually explicit act or conduct’.
Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi appearing for the makers argued that no offence is made out under Section 67A of the IT Act. He argued that 67A would not apply to profane language. “It is a matter of vulgar language, it is not a matter of an obscene act or a vulgar act on the screen. We were portraying how youngsters speak in college through slangs, it is a part of life.” he stated.
However, the bench of Justice AS Bopanna and Justice MM Sundresh hearing the matter, expressed its reservations about the same.
“We have no difficulty in giving our views on this, but it might go against you. Any other protection we can consider. On application of 67, we will consider it subject to a hearing. On 67A, we have our reservation.” Justice Sundresh remarked.
Referring to the applicability of Section 67A to explicit language, Justice Sundresh said, ‘Because in act and conduct….act has a broader sense. You cannot give a technical interpretation that act means only physical act. ‘
The matter has been kept for further hearing on 31st October.
In March 2023, the Delhi High Court had ruled that the language used in web series “College Romance” does not pass "morale decency community test" of a common man and transgresses into the area of obscenity. The High Court had said that the use of vulgar language in public domain and social media platforms which are open to children of tender age needs to be taken seriously.
The High Court was hearing petitions moved by TVF Media Labs Pvt. Ltd., Casting Director of web series 'College Romance' and its lead actors against the orders passed by the sessions court and ACMM for registration of FIR against them. The High Court had upheld the registration of FIR against them under Section 67 and 67A of the IT Act.
“Most certainly, this Court notes that this is not the language that nation’s youth or otherwise citizens of this country use, and this language cannot be called the frequently spoken language used in our country", the High Court had said.
“Therefore, on the basis of this finding it can be held that the content of the web series will certainly attract the criminality as envisaged under Section 67 of the Information Technology Act", the High Court had held.
“The web series does deprave the morality of the impressionable minds. Though it may be argued that the State cannot prescribe morality and Court cannot indulge in moral policing in the name of Indian values, this Court holds that when the self regulatory bodies do not do their duty and allow such content to be served indiscriminately to the people of all ages and the law does not define or provide specific remedy, the people have to turn to the Courts only.” The High Court said in its ruling.
Case Title: TVF Media Labs Pvt. Ltd. v. State (Govt. Of NCT Of Delhi) SLP(Crl) No. 5532/2023