SC Stays Pleas on Regulation of OTT Platforms Pending Before HCs

The order came after a transfer petition was moved by the Centre urging the SC to club all petitions in high courts.

2 min read
Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday, 23 March, stayed all the petitions seeking regulation of content on Over The Top (OTT) platforms, such as Netflix and Prime Video, pending before various high courts.

The order came after a transfer petition was moved by the central government, urging the Supreme Court to club all the petitions.

The Bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud told the central government that it won’t decide on transferring the petitions right now as the petition has not been served to all the parties. The court has decided to hear the plea in the second week, after Holi.

During the proceedings, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta informed the apex court that the Centre had moved the transfer petition as multiple high courts are dealing with the same matter.

The Solicitor General further stated that one of the high courts had also said that it will proceed to hear the matter unless the Supreme Court decided to stay the proceedings.

Seeking Regulation of Content on OTT Platforms

The petitioner, NGO Justice For Rights Foundation, through its rejoinder, submitted before the Supreme Court that effective control of content on OTT platforms could not be done without legislation, and regulation of these platforms by the statutory body was necessary for the interest of public morality and decency.

Challenging the decision of the Delhi High Court, the petitioner argued that the OTT platforms needed to be regulated by a statutory body in interest of public morality and decency as as the content available on such platforms being non-licensed and non-censored is available in general public without any reasonable restrictions being imposed.

Earlier, the Delhi High Court had dismissed a plea seeking framing of guidelines by the government to regulate the functioning of online media streaming platforms, like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

In February 2019, a bench of erstwhile Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice VK Rao had rejected the petition after the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting informed that online platforms were not required to obtain any licence from the ministry.

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