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SC favours OTT guidelines, says screening needed

The court was hearing a plea by Aparna Purohit challenging Allahabad HC’s order

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KOLKATA: The Supreme Court on Thursday remarked that there should be pre-censorship of OTT content like films while hearing a plea by Amazon Prime Video India originals head Aparna Purohit. She had moved the apex court challenging Allahabad high court order denying anticipatory bail to her in connection with the Tandav controversy.

"We are of the view that some screening of OTT content should take place,” the bench comprising justices Ashok Bhushan and S Subhash Reddy said. "In fact, some platforms even show pornography.”

Being informed of the new rules announced by the government to regulate OTT content, the bench directed solicitor-general Tushar Mehta to place the rules on record and circulate it.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Purohit, stated that it was shocking that she, neither a producer, nor an actor, has still been made an accused in the cases against Tandav. The Allahabad high court had rejected Purohit’s bail plea on 25 February, pronouncing that “…the applicant had not been vigilant and has acted irresponsibly making her open to criminal prosecution in permitting streaming of a movie which is against the fundamental rights of the majority of citizens of this country.”

The matter will be again taken up on Friday.

Tandav, which premiered on Amazon Prime in January this year, has been embroiled in a series of controversies. A petition was filed against the makers and actors for hurting religious sentiments by mocking Hindu deities in some scenes of the web series. They were also accused of showing the Uttar Pradesh police in bad light. Multiple complaints - including three FIRs in Uttar Pradesh - were filed against the makers of the show as well as the actors involved.

Yesterday, Amazon Prime Video once again issued an unconditional apology for the “objectionable” scenes in Tandav, and reiterated that all such scenes were deleted or edited.

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