Aurangabad bench of the Bombay high court on Tuesday ruled that television channels who telecast religious advertisements to promote superstition shall be liable to face legal action. The bench has directed Maharashtra government to register offences against the four TV channels for telecasting “Hanuman Chalisa Yantra”.
The division bench comprising Justice TV Nalawade and Justice MG Sewlikar ruled that airing such advertisements are illegal and punishable under the various provisions of Maharashtra Prevention and Eradication of Human Sacrifice and other Inhuman, Evil and Aghori Practices and Black Magic Act, 2013.
The court further stated that as per the Section 3 of the Black Magic Act, not only the act of black magic and evil practices is prohibited, but also propagation and promotion is also restricted under the law. Under Section 3(2) of the Act, abetment of such black magic or evil practices is also an offence.
“Thus, TV channels, which telecast advertisements (promoting superstitious material) also become liable under Section 3 of the Black Magic Act,” the bench said.
A teacher from Aurangabad, Rajendra Ambhore had filed a petition in the High Court alleging that advertisement being telecast on several TV channels promoting certain “Yantras” in the name of gods and godmen, and luring people to buy them.
Analysing the provision of Black Magic Act, the bench declared that not only the advertisers, but the TV channels and actors who promote such ads are also liable to face legal action.
The High Court has also directed the state government to create a special cell to keep an eye on such advertisements and TV channels who are telecasting and promoting them.
“Even highly educated persons get attracted to things like mantra-tantra, black magic. Due to this superstitious approach of the rich and poor, educated and uneducated persons they are being exploited by so-called babas,” the High Court bench said.