The Delhi High Court made strong remarks on Monday regarding the web series 'College Romance', and said the sexually explicit language used in series could "potentially corrupt young and impressionable minds". The court supported a previous order to file an FIR against the platform and actors involved in the series.
𝗢𝗯𝘀𝗰𝗲𝗻𝗲, 𝗹𝗮𝘀𝗰𝗶𝘃𝗶𝗼𝘂𝘀, 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗽𝗿𝗼𝗳𝗮𝗻𝗲: 𝗛𝗖 𝗼𝗻 𝗧𝗩𝗙'𝘀 𝗰𝗼𝗻𝘁𝗲𝗻𝘁
The High Court labeled the content on the OTT platform TVF as obscene, lascivious, and profane and urged the government to take measures to monitor such content.
Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma said: "The power of obscenity and sexual explicitness of language used in this web series... cannot be undermined and it has a definite effect of depraving and corrupting the minds of people, especially the impressionable minds."
𝗛𝗮𝗱 𝘁𝗼 𝘂𝘀𝗲 𝗲𝗮𝗿𝗽𝗵𝗼𝗻𝗲𝘀 𝘁𝗼 𝘄𝗮𝘁𝗰𝗵 𝗲𝗽𝗶𝘀𝗼𝗱𝗲: 𝗝𝘂𝗱𝗴𝗲
The judge commented that she found the language used in the episodes to be extremely vulgar and obscene, to the extent that she had to use earphones while watching them.
"The court had to watch the episodes with the aid of earphones, in the chamber, as the profanity of language used was of the extent that it could not have been heard without shocking or alarming the people around and keeping in mind the decorum of language which is maintained by a common prudent man whether in professional or public domain or even with family members at home," the judgement read.
"Most certainly, this court notes that this is not the language that nation's youth or otherwise citizens of this country use, and this language cannot be called the frequently spoken language used in our country," it added.
𝗝𝘂𝗱𝗴𝗲 𝗱𝗶𝗿𝗲𝗰𝘁𝘀 𝗮𝗰𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝘂𝗻𝗱𝗲𝗿 𝘀𝗲𝗰𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝟲𝟳 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝟲𝟳(𝗔)
The judge recommended that the creators of the series be held accountable under Section 67, which pertains to content deemed "lascivious," as well as Section 67(A), which deals with the publishing or spreading of sexually explicit content. However, the order to file an FIR did not include instructions to make any arrests.
Justice Sharma acknowledged that the court faced a challenging task of finding a delicate balance between the right to free speech and freedom of expression on one hand and the transmission of the series to the general audience on the other, especially since the content involved sexually explicit acts and was not properly classified as obscene.
"Words and languages are very powerful medium and needless to say, words have the power to paint and draw a picture at the same time," the Delhi HC said.
𝗘𝗻𝘀𝘂𝗿𝗲 𝘀𝘁𝗿𝗶𝗰𝘁 𝗲𝗻𝗳𝗼𝗿𝗰𝗲𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝗼𝗳 𝗜𝗧 𝗿𝘂𝗹𝗲𝘀: 𝗛𝗖 𝘁𝗲𝗹𝗹𝘀 𝗴𝗼𝘃𝘁
Additionally, the High Court urged the government to take measures to ensure strict enforcement of IT rules and ethical codes for intermediaries.
A petition filed by TVF, which contested an order dated September 17, 2019, requiring an FIR, was being heard by the court.
"College Romance" is available for viewing on various internet platforms, including YouTube, TVF web portal, and mobile applications.
The controversy pertained to the fifth episode of the first season of the show, which aired in September 2018. The episode, with the explicit title "Happily F***ed Up," was accused of using vulgar and obscene language and depicting women in an indecent or offensive manner.
According to a complaint, the series contains vulgar language throughout its episodes, but one particular episode was deemed to have exceeded all limits of vulgarity and online obscenity. The complaint stated that the series was freely accessible on YouTube.
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