Supreme Court has asked the Centre government to file an affidavit explaining what steps are being taken to regulate Over The Top (OTT) platforms including Amazon Prime, Netflix, Disney+Hotstar, etc.
A three-judge bench headed by Justice CJI S A Bobde has issued a notice to the Centre over a plea seeking establishment of an autonomous body for the regulation of OTT platforms.
Recently in September 2020, Internet & Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) has proposed a toolkit for the implementation of the self regulation code. The toolkit was signed by 17 major OTT platforms.
The bench questioned Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain on what steps the government is taking to regulate the OTT platforms and content running on these platforms. To which, Jain replied that the government is still contemplating.
Initially, the bench asked the petitioner to withdraw the petition and make a representation before the government. However, advocate Jha insisted the bench to tag the petition with a pending plea.
While issuing notice, CJI Bobde said, “We cannot accept mere contemplations. Everybody contemplates. Notice issued and tagged with pending case. Submit an affidavit on steps being taken.”
In October 2020, three judge bench had directed Information and Broadcasting Ministry and IAMAI to file their response to the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by advocate Shashank Shekhar Jha seeking establishment of a body that can monitor the content on different OTT/streaming and digital media platforms.
The body may be called the Central Board for Regulation and Monitoring of Online Video Contents (CBRMOVC) to monitor and filter the contents and regulate the videos on various platforms for viewers in India.
“With cinemas unlikely to open anytime soon in the country, OTT/streaming and different digital media platforms have surely given a way out to filmmakers and artistes to release their content without getting any clearance certificate from the censor board,” said the plea.
The plea further quoted, “the government is facing heat to fill this lacuna with regulations from the public and the judiciary; still the relevant government departments have not done anything significant to regularise these OTT/streaming platforms.”