SC sends notice to Centre seeking guidelines for streaming content

The petitioner, Justice for Rights Foundation, had moved the apex court challenging the order of the High Court, which had dismissed their plea on February 8

The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Centre to respond to a plea seeking guidelines on the regulation of content being streamed on streaming platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjiv Khanna issued the notice after hearing the petitioner. Earlier, on February 8, the plea was dismissed by the Delhi High Court and the petitioner, Justice for Rights Foundation, had moved the apex court challenging the High Court order.

The petitioner stated that online streaming platforms do not have a licence to function, and the same argument was accepted by the ministries concerned in their response on the plea in the High Court. According to the petitioner, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting had said that for these streaming platforms, it is not mandatory to get a licence from the ministry. Later, the High Court dismissed the petition.

The plea said: "The said online platforms are displaying unlicensed, unregulated, uncertified content and collecting subscription amounts from Indian consumers whereas the content telecast on the online platforms is illegal to the extent that certain movies are banned under the provisions of the Indian Cinematograph Act."

Arguing in the High Court, the petitioner contended that series like Sacred Games, Game of Thrones and Spartacus contain sexually explicit content and depict women in objectionable manner and that the online content has not even passed by the Central Board for Film Certification.

Unlike the apex court, the High Court did not issue notice on the NGO's petition but had only sought the government's response.

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