SC Delivers A Crucial Judgment On OTT Censorship

Giving a sigh of relief to the Indian OTT viewers and filmmakers, the Supreme Court of India dismissed a petition to pre-screen and censor OTT content in the country.

It asked how there can be a pre-screening committee for web series, films, or other programs which are directly released on online streaming platforms.

An apex court bench of Chief Justice Uday Umesh Lalit and Justice Bela M Trivedi heard the plea filed by Mirzapur resident Sujeet Kumar Singh for setting up a pre-screening committee for the content that gets released on online platforms.

In its statement, the magistrate said, “How can there be a pre-screening committee for web series? There is particular legislation. Unless you say OTT is also a part of it. You must say that existing legislation must apply to OTT. Various questions will arise because transmission occurs from other countries.”

“For OTT, satellite transmission is from other countries and not this one even though viewers may be here. Post exhibition redressal mechanism is different. Your petition has to be more detailed. File a better one,” the bench further stated.

The petitioner further requested the court to ban the Mirzapur web series, alleging that it is tarnishing the image of his city. The judges declined this request as well. They had earlier asked the Information & Broadcasting ministry at the Centre, Mirzapur streamer Prime Video and producers Excel Entertainment Pvt for their views on the petition. Satisfied by their response, they dismissed Sujeet Kumar Singh’s plea.