‘Tandav’ row: SC grants relief to Amazon Prime Video’s Aparna Purohit

Court says Centre’s guidelines on regulating social media and OTT platforms do not have any provision for taking action against those showing inappropriate content

Tandav
Tandav is a nine-episode political thriller starring Bollywood A-listers Saif Ali Khan, Dimple Kapadia and Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub. | Photo: Twitter

The Supreme Court on Friday (March 5) granted protection from arrest to Amazon Prime Video India head Aparna Purohit in the ongoing investigation against the web series Tandav.

The court, while granting protection, said the Centre’s guidelines on regulating social media and OTT platforms do not have any provision for taking action against platforms showing inappropriate content.

“There is no mechanism to control social media platforms. Without legislation you [the government] cannot control it,” the two-member bench said.

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The court was hearing Purohit’s appeal against the Allahabad High Court’s February 25 order declining anticipatory bail to her. Justices Ashok Bhushan and RS Reddy also issued notice to the UP government on Purohit’s plea for anticipatory bail in FIRs on the Tandav series.

Also read: ’Tandav’ makers apologise after criminal case lodged in UP

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, said the government will consider appropriate steps and any regulation or legislation on it will be placed before court. The SC also directed Purohit to make the Centre a party to her plea.

On Thursday the SC called for regulation of content on OTT platforms, saying “even pornographic material is bring shown” on some of them.

Also read: Supreme Court refuses to grant interim protection to ‘Tandav’ makers

On Friday the SC observed that the Centre’s regulations are mere guidelines. “We have gone through your rules and it does not have any teeth. No power for prosecution. No mechanism to control violations,” Justice Ashok Bhushan said after going through the submissions by the Centre.

Justice Bhushan also asked the Centre to submit new proposal to the court with stronger provisions.

“The government will consider appropriate steps; any regulation on digital platforms will be placed before the court,” Mehta said.

During the hearing senior lawyer Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Purohit, said that Amazon and Netflix do not show any porn. “Everyday evening I watch movies on OTT and they have great movies,” he said.

“It is almost pornography,” shot back Mehta.

Tandav is a nine-part political thriller starring, among others, Saif Ali Khan and Dimple Kapadia.

Purohit has been accused of inappropriate depiction of UP police, Hindu deities and an adverse portrayal of a character playing the prime minister in the series.

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