On 20th August 2020, the Madhya Pradesh High Court gave temporary relief to Television Producer Ekta Kapoor. The State Government has been directed not to take any coercive steps against her in a case where charges of spreading obscenity, hurting religious feelings, and improper use of national emblems in her web show XXX season 2 were registered.
Two days’ grant has been given to the counsel respondents to produce the C. D. (Compact Disk) containing alleged objectionable material by the bench of Justice Shailendra Shukla.
Background of the Ekta Kapoor’s Show Case
On 05th June 2020, an FIR against television producer Ekta Kapoor and two others in Madhya Pradesh on charges of spreading obscenity, hurting religious feelings, and improper use of national emblems in her web show XXX season 2 was registered.
Valmik Sakaragaye, being the complainant and a resident of Indore alleged that the web show XXX season 2 spreads obscenity and hurts religious feelings which is aired on Kapoor’s subscription-based video platform – ‘ALT Balaji’. A particular scene which allegedly portrays the Indian Army’s uniform in a highly objectionable way is also highlighted in the FIR.
About the FIR against Ekta Kapoor Case
Under sections 294 (obscene acts and songs) and 298 (Uttering, words, etc., with deliberate intent to wound the religious feelings of any person) & 34 of the Indian Penal Code, Sections 67 (Punishment for publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form) and 67-A (Punishment for publishing or transmitting of material containing sexually explicit act, etc. in electronic form) of the Information Technology (IT) Act, and Section 3 ( Prohibition of improper use of emblem) of the State Emblem of India (Prohibition of Improper Use) Act, 2005, the FIR bearing Crime No.214/2020 was registered Against Ekta Kapoor.
Prayer before the court was made that an order be passed against the applicant mandating “no coercive action” till the next date of hearing.
Under Section 482 of Cr.P.C., the counsel for the applicant submitted that there is no obscenity as depicted in the FIR and he sought the quashing of FIR.
Though, submissions were made before the court by the Complainant’s counsel that the applicant is a producer of the Web Series in which there are contents and elements of obscenity and also the dishonor of National Emblem.
The Court’s Observation
The court observed that the FIR talked about substantial evidence hence aforesaid material needs to be perused and the respondents must produce such C.D. for perusal.
However the court noted that as no such material/ Compact Disk was available on record, the same was required to be filed.
The court directed to produce the questioned material for perusal in two copies, one for the applicant and another for the court to be presented by the counsel for respondents.
The court also ordered that “there shall be no coercive action against the applicant till the next date of hearing.”
The matter will now be heard on 26.08.2020.
A PIL was filed before the Allahabad High Court in the month of June allegedly for disrespecting the Indian Army and their uniforms and seeking a blanket ban on streaming of web series “XXX – Season 2”.
Anniruddha Singh, brother-in-law of an Indian soldier seeking a ban on the show produced by Ekta Kapoor, which is allegedly tarnishing and maligning the social reputation of wives of army officers had filed the petition.
A “No Objection Certificate” from the Ministry, before telecasting any movie/ web series based on Army theme was advised to all production houses by the Central Board of Film Certification on the request of the Ministry of Defence.
On the same lines, a letter was sent by the Ministry to the CBFC to prevent the production houses from “distorting the image of the Army”.
The Ministry had urged that the persons concerned may be advised to prevent “any incident which distorts the image of Defence Forces or hurts their sentiment.”
Kapoor had soon after the controversy erupted issued a statement informing that the controversial scene has been deleted.
“As an individual and as an organization, we are deeply respectful towards the Indian Army. Their contribution to our well-being and security is immense. We have already deleted the scene that is being spoken about, so the action has been taken from our side. We fully apologize for any sentiment that is hurt unintentionally.”Ekta’s Expression
Details of the Case
Case Title: Ekta Kapoor vs. State of M.P. & Anr.
Case No.: MCRC No. 28386/2020
Quorum: Justice Shailendra Shukla
Representations: Advocate Vinay Saraf, Advocate Anand Soni and Advocate Nitesh Jain Rajnish Sharma (for the Applicant); Advocate Nisha Tanwar (for the respondent-State); Advocate Bhuwan Gautam (for the respondent no.2)