The Punjab and Haryana High Court yesterday issued notices to the central and state governments in a plea seeking to regulate the content of web series “Paatal Lok”.
The bench of Justice Arun Kumar Tyagi issued notices on the petition filed by practicing advocate Gurdeepinder Singh Dhillon, who alleged that the content of the show was “illegal, antisocial, vulgar, abusive, minority oppressive and anti-national“.
Dhillon, represented by Advocate R.S. Randhawa, submitted that the state should be directed to regulate the content being aired on such Over The Top (OTT) Platforms, and that these platforms should be required to seek prior approval or authentication from any government authority.
He also sought a direction to the state government to register a FIR against the makers of the show, including Bollywood actress and producer of the series Anushka Sharma, and Amazon Prime Videos, which is currently broadcasting the Paatal lok.
Dhillon alleged that episode number three of the series- “A History of Violence” was made with an intention to create communal disharmony. He further added that the makers of Paatal Lok had purposely and maliciously highlighted caste-based clashes in the episode, showing the castes in bad light. The episode, set in a village in Punjab, also uses a caste portraying slur, which creates enmity between two castes in the State, he alleged.
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Last month, Dhillon had filed a similar complaint before the Punjab police. The Advocate has now approached the High Court seeking registration of an FIR under Section 295-A of the IPC, Section 67, 67-A and 67-B of the Information Technology Act, 2000 and Section 4 read with Section 6 of the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986, against the producers, writers, directors and broadcasters of Paatal lok series.
Specifying timings of the episode wherein members of the Sikh community are apparently referring to a boy as ‘Manjaar’, Dhillon had said that such portrayal is both criminal and defamatory. Further, narrating sequences from the episode, he has accused the makers of portraying sikhs as oppressors of the society, particularly women.
The matter is now heard on July 2, 2020.
Read the notice here: