On Friday, the Supreme Court granted interim protection from arrest to Aparna Purohit (Amazon Prime Videos’ India Head) in an FIR registered by UP Police for allegedly hurting religious sentiments by web series Tandav.
A Bench comprising Hon’ble Justice Ashok Bhushan and Hon’ble Justice R Subhash Reddy observed that protection from arrest would be subject to the petitioner cooperating with the investigation and appearing before the police when summoned.
The Bench took note that the Purohit was cooperating with police in an FIR registered in Lucknow and that she has no role in the production or writing of the web series.
While referring to the OTT rules, the Bench expressed dissatisfaction and told the Solicitor General that new rules lack teeth as there is no provision for fine or prosecution. Hon’ble Justice Bhushan remarked that without legislation, there couldn’t be effective control.
The Solicitor General replied that the new rules were brought in as a balance between internal self-regulation and no-censorship. However, the Solicitor General stated that he would draft rules for consideration of the Court.
The Bench stated that OTT regulation would also be considered in the present and proceeded to add the Union of India as a party. The Bench further observed that due to uncontrolled viewing of scenes in Amazon Prime Videos, the Union of India had notified new rules. However, the Rules are like guidelines, and there is no effective regulation or steps for appropriate action.