DB disposes off PIL on Cable TV Network Act

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, Feb 11: Division Bench of State High Court comprising Chief Justice N Paul Vasanthakumar and Justice Bansi Lal Bhat today disposed off the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking check on indecent, vulgar, inappropriate and untrue advertisements and programmes, which are running on various TV channels in violation of Cable Television Network (Regulation) Act, 1995 with directions to the Chief Secretary and Law Secretary.
After hearing Senior Advocate Sunil Sethi for the PIL whereas ASGI Sindu Sharma for the Union of India and Senior AAG Gagan Basotra for the State, DB directed Chief Secretary and Law Secretary to consider drafting of appropriate laws, which would definitely protect the interest of the womenfolk and general public from acting on the basis of the false advertisements.
“During the pendency of the PIL, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting issued an Office Memorandum on 21.8.2014 stating that the Advertisement Standards Council of India (ASCI) noted certain objectionable advertisements received from Consumer Complaints Council, violating the provisions of the Code for self regulation as well as to the provisions of Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954 and the same was placed before the IMC for its recommendation”, the DB observed.
“It was ordered that the advertisements which are violative of ASCI cannot be carried on TV channels and recommended to advise all channels not to telecast the advertisements which are found violative by ASCI.  In terms of the said recommendation, an advisory has also been issued to all TV channels”, the DB said, adding “the grievance of the petitioner is that in spite of the advisory issued by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting some TV channels are advertising objectionable advertisements. However, no specific instance has been brought to the notice of this court by the petitioner after issuance of the advisory”.
“In such circumstances, this court cannot go into the issue further. If the petitioner is having any proof for the telecast of objectionable advertisement by any TV channel in spite of the advisory of the first respondent to all TV channels, the petitioner can very well approach the concerned authority, who in turn will take suitable action in accordance with law”, the DB said.
“However, as far as the prayer seeking direction to consider drafting of laws by Chief Secretary and Law Secretary, similar to the Indecent Representation of Women Prohibition Act, 1986, and Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954, this court cannot give any positive direction as drafting of laws/enacting a law is the prerogative of the Government.  However, since the Government is bound to prevent the obscene, defamatory, vulgar, false advertisements, in public interest, a direction is issued to the Chief Secretary and Law Secretary to consider drafting of appropriate laws”, the DB said.


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