To Safeguard Children, Women’, Madras HC Issues Interim Order Against ‘Sexual Ads’

  1. ‘To Safeguard Children, Women’, Madras HC Issues Interim Order Against ‘Sexual Ads’
The order by the Madhurai bench of the high court said that anybody would be “shocked” by the pornographic content in such ads.
The Madurai bench of the Madras high court. Photo:

New Delhi: The Madras high court’s Madurai Bench recently issued an interim order against the broadcast of sexual advertisements – a phrase seemingly intended to mean ads of condoms and aphrodisiacs – and stated that such content was pornographic in nature.

The order passed by a bench comprising Justices N. Kirubakaran and B. Pugalendhi cited the interest of justice and “safeguarding children and women,” reported Bar and Bench.

Petitioner K.S. Sagadevaraja had moved court with a PIL to curb the telecast of sexually explicit ads.

The bench also expressed disapproval over such advertisements being widely shown on television.

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“It is shocking to note that in the television, about 10.00 p.m., almost all the television channels are telecasting 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,” the order said.

Then bench added that anybody would be “shocked” by the pornographic content in such ad programmes.

The order also said that nudity, which was “punishable under Section 16 of the Cable Television Network (Regulation) Act, 1995” was prevalent in advertisements.

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It also said that cable operators had to ensure that the portrayal of the female form, in the programmes on cable service is “tasteful and aesthetic” and “within the well established norms of good taste and decency”.

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“Similarly 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,” the order also said and held that advertisements telecast “in the name of selling condoms and aphrodisiacs, inner wears” were violating the Rules provided under Rule 7(1) of the Cable Television Network Rules, 1994.

The court also said that several channels were telecasting such programmes round the clock and were likely to affect the minds of young audiences.

“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,” the order said. It added that such advertisements would affect the minds of youngsters and children.

“Interest of justice requires to issue a direction as prayed for and also to safeguard the children and women. In such view of the matter, there shall be an order of interim direction as prayed for,” reads the order.

The bench also noted that as revealed by an RTI reply, violations of the Programme Code and Advertisement Code under the Cable Television Networks Act and Rules were monitored. However, the codes did not provide for the pre-censorship of advertisements, the court noted and asked the government to respond on the aspect of censorship of programmes under Section 5(A) of the Cinematograph Act 1952.

The matter has been adjourned till December 1 for further consideration.

Previously, a bench comprising of the same justices had directed that the teaser of a Tamil movie, Irandam Kuthu, be removed from social media for propagating vulgarity in response to a batch of petitions.

The petition, filed by a cultural outfit, Samuganeethi Kalvi Panpattu Maiyam, had appealed that children attending online classes due to COVID-19 had the “possibility of uncontrolled viewership” of the movie’s “vulgar and obscene teaser”.

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