Check pictures on condom packs and explain “daaru” in a random song: Courts to govt

Barely a couple of days after the Chief Justice of India T S Thakur reportedly cried before the Prime Minister citing an overworked judiciary, two news reports have come out today that makes one wonder if the courts could make themselves a little less involved in those matters and free up some time.

The first report involves a Supreme Court bench incidentally headed by the CJI Thakur himself. The bench has asked the government to check out the pictures used on condom packets and in print ads of condoms and other contraceptives to find out if they were obscene and warranted “action”.

This is eerily similar to what was debated as “porn ban” in August last year. Back then, the government was taking “action” because the Supreme Court had asked it to. Government authorities were handed over a list of 857 porn URLs and they were asked to check those. Finally a clueless government ended up blocking all those URLs, which led to outrage by netizens and subsequent unblocking of the URLs.

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Now the court wants the government to check images on condoms. So maybe a few weeks from now we’d be outraging about “condom ban” and censorship. And the chances are pretty high.

Additional Solicitor General has told the apex court that images on condom packs or in condom ads are not regulated because there is no pre-screening of print ads. Video ads are pre-screened either by the Censor Board or are regulated by advertising codes under the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995, so – horror – we may end up government coming up with advertising codes for print and maybe web too. And lo and behold! We would have opportunity to outrage over censorship and curbs on creative freedom. God forbid. Or milord forbid.

The second report comes from Gujarat where the High Court has issued notices to the state government and the Censor Board to explain why they should not delete a part of the song from a movie named Santa Banta Private Limited.

Yes, you read it right. Censor Board already draws a lot of flak for being “sanskaari” and now the court has sent a notice that could make it feel that it was not sanskaari enough!

The “objectionable” part of the song is the second part of this – machhli jal ki raani hai, daaru ke sang khaani hai (fish is the queen of water, but we’d have it with liquor). The presence of the word “daaru” i.e. liquor has apparently corrupted the song and legal intervention was sought in this matter.

According to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) entertained by the Gujarat High Court, the above part of the song could give a very bad message to the kids as it’s a spoof of a popular rhyme that says – machhli jal ki raani hai, jeevan uska paani hai (fish is the queen of water, and her life is water {sorry for the horrible translation}).

It’s highly likely that most of you would have come to know about the above song due to this news report only. But as per the person who filed the PIL, this song is so dangerous that it can screw the childhood innocence and learning of the Indian kids.

And the honourable High Court has not only accepted the PIL, it has issued notices to the state government, the Censor Board, and to the producers of the movie. In fact the PIL says that guidelines should be made so that such songs are not made in future. Oh the horror – more government intervention and curbs on free speech!

Please note that the aforementioned issue about images on condom packs or about blocking porn websites were also results of PILs. With all due respect and advance apologies to the courts, we want to submit to the honourable judges that entertaining such PILs are not going to help the scenario where the courts are overworked.

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