Bombay HC issues notice to MIB on PIL seeking regulation of digital content

The Bombay High Court has issued a notice to the ministry of information & broadcasting (MIB) following a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking regulation of web content.

A division bench of Justices Bhushan Dharmadhikari and M G Biradkar issued notices to the I&B Ministry, Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Ministry of Law and Justice, Ministry of Home Affairs and also the Nagpur police commissioner, seeking replies by 31 October.

The PIL was filed by Divya Ganeshprasad Gontia. Advocate Shyam Dewani, the petitioner’s lawyer, said, “We cited before the court various examples of uncontrolled vulgarity, obscenity in such shows and sought a direction to concerned authorities to take appropriate action against all such web service providers.”

Broadcasting nudity or vulgar scenes is a cognisable offence under IPC, Cinematograph Act, Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act 1986 and the Information Technology Act, 2000, he said.

The I&B Ministry should set up a pre-screening committee for web shows, films or other programs which are released directly on online platforms, the petition has demanded.