Who Handles Film Certification for OTT, Social Media Platforms? HC Questions Centre

The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court has posed a query to the Centre regarding the authority responsible for film certification on OTT and social media platforms. The inquiry specifically targets the role of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) in this matter.

The court has directed the Centre and the CBFC to submit a counter affidavit that clarifies whether the CBFC extends its certification services to films shown on OTT platforms or if an alternative system is in place. This development comes in the wake of a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Dipankar Kumar, who raised concerns over objectionable content in a Hindi film available on YouTube, which allegedly contains derogatory remarks about the people of Bihar.

The justices Rajan Roy and Om Prakash Shukla, who presided over the case, have scheduled the next hearing for August 13, 2024. They have also appointed advocate general Kuldeep Pati Tripathi as amicus curiae to assist in the proceedings.

During the preliminary review of the film, titled ‘Taktavar Policewala’, a Hindi version of the Telugu movie ‘Dhee Ante Dhee’, the amicus curiae reported that it contained highly objectionable dialogues capable of inciting regional discrimination and disturbing public tranquility.

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In response, the court has sought a detailed reply from both the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and the CBFC. The court has issued a warning that should these bodies fail to provide a satisfactory response by the next scheduled hearing, a senior CBFC official will be required to participate in the hearing via video conferencing.

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