Active Noon Media is the largest local to national digital media website that represents the voice of the entire nation.

Supreme Court Says It Cannot Criminalise Abusive Language In OTT Content

Supreme Court Says It Cannot Criminalise Abusive Language In OTT Content
Source: PTI/File

The Supreme Court stated on Tuesday that considering abusive language a criminal offence would violate the right to freedom of speech. Also, it is not possible to oversee the content that involves the use of swear words and abusive language.

Judges AS Bopanna and PS Narasimha’s bench ruled that courts must consider whether the content that is considered to be “obscene” under criminal law has the potential to degrade or corrupt people’s minds.

According to the bench, vulgarity differs from obscenity in that vulgar language and can shock the reader and evoke feelings of disgust and hatred. Still, it is not always the same as obscenity, which tends to deprave and corrupt. 

The availability of content that contains profanities and swear words cannot be regulated by criminalising it as obscene. Apart from being a non-sequitur (a conclusion that does not follow logically), it is a disproportionate and excessive measure that violates freedom of speech, expression, and artistic creativity

Underlined the judgement authored by Justice Narasimha.

The bench added a new standard to determine if material can be prosecuted for being “obscene” under Section 292 of the Indian Penal Code and Section 67 of the Information Technology Act if it is accessible online. It was noted that the content’s appropriateness for use in a courtroom cannot be the sole criterion for determining its legality, as the court’s decorum and integrity must also be upheld.

Such an approach unduly curtails the freedom of expression that can be exercised and compels the maker of the content to meet the requirements of judicial propriety, formality, and official language.

Justice Narasimha

The case was filed against the show “College Romance,” which involved abusive language. The court, in the end, pointed out that the web series is a light-hearted show on the lives of young college students, and these words are used to express emotions like anger, excitement and frustration instead of sexual feelings or lust.

Palak is a skilled content writer with a passion for creating engaging and informative articles. With a keen eye for detail and a knack for research, Palak produces high-quality content on a variety of topics and delivers compelling pieces that captivate audiences and drive engagement. With a commitment to excellence and a dedication to meeting deadlines, Palak is a valuable asset to the team.