HC asks Centre to respond to plea challenging blocking of 'Dowry Calculator' website

The Delhi High Court Monday sought response of the Centre on a plea by a satirical website, "Dowry Calculator", challenging the government's decision to ban it

PTIUpdated: Monday, January 23, 2023, 08:25 PM IST
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New Delhi: The Delhi High Court Monday sought response of the Centre on a plea by a satirical website, "Dowry Calculator", challenging the government's decision to ban it.

The lawyer for the petitioner submitted that the website makes fun of the social evil of dowry and "it is self-evident that it is a satire".

Justice Prathiba M Singh asked if the website was making good revenue out of dowry calculation and said, "it is quite creative though." The website, which was launched in 2011 and calculates the amount of dowry on entering a person's particulars, says it is "dedicated to all the match-making aunties of India".

The high court issued notice to the Centre and asked the parties to file their written submissions along with relevant case laws and listed the matter for further hearing on May 16.

Senior advocate Siddharth Aggarwal, appearing for petitioner Tanul Thakur who is the creator of the website, said it is a free website and has zero revenue.

"The website makes fun of the social evil (dowry practice). It is self-evident that it is a satire. It makes fun at a social evil. It does not encourage dowry. But the government's stand is that it will defame India in the eyes of the world," the counsel submitted.

The plea said the website was started in May 2011 with the intention of highlighting the evil of dowry and it is a tongue-in-cheek attempt to highlight the social evil which is prevalent here.

It said that the government blocked the website in 2018 following a complaint.

It said that in May 2022, the high court had asked a committee constituted by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) to give a hearing to the petitioner.

However, the court was informed on Monday that the committee has recommended the ministry to retain the decision to block the website on the ground that the perception of the website is not satirical.

The plea said that initially the petitioner was reluctant to put a disclaimer on the website but now he is willing to do so.

However, the committee's view is that it will encourage the social evil, it said.

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