On Wednesday, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights wrote a scathing letter to Maharashtra Home Secretary and Mumbai Police Commissioner accusing them of deliberately delaying action against the makers of the controversial Netflix series “Bombay Begums” and asked them to register an FIR in the case immediately.
In separate letters to Maharashtra Home Secretary and Mumbai Police, the NCPCR mentioned that they had received a complaint against the controversial Netflix series “Bombay Begums” in March this year, accusing the makers of showing objectionable contents. The NCPCR said that the complainants have accused the makers of showing children to be indulging in snorting drugs and taking indecent pictures and selfies in the classroom.
As portraying and glorifying these acts by children and publishing the same in the country went against the spirit of laws made for the protection and welfare of children and therefore any act of aforesaid nature, the NCPCR had deemed the contents of the show as objectionable and had asked the streaming service to stop such publication.
In March this year, the Commission had also asked Netflix to submit an action taken report within 24 hours, failing which it said it would be constrained to initiate appropriate legal action. However, as per NCPCR, Netflix did not act on the Commission’s complaint but merely gave a justification for all objectionable scenes from the series highlighted by the commission.
Mumbai Police fails to initiate action against makers of “Bombay Begums”
In its letter to the Maharashtra government, the Commission said that the makers had violated Section 77 of Juvenile Justice Act, 2015, and the Commission then had asked the Mumbai Commissioner of Police to investigate the matter, ensuring that no child labour laws any other relevant laws or “Guidelines to Regulate Child Participation in TV Serials, Reality Shows and Advertisements” is violated.
The Commission said they had requested DCP Enforcement, Mumbai on April 12, requesting him to register an FIR against the Series “Bombay Begums” streaming on Netflix for violating various provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 and POCSO.
However, despite instructions from the Commission, the Mumbai Police has not registered any complaint against the makers of the controversial series, saying that they require “permission from higher authorities” as this matter falls in the grey area and without the approval of higher officers, they can’t lodge an FIR in the matter.
“The Commission fails to understand that how a cognizable offense U/sec. 77 of Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 falls in the grey area and why Mumbai Police is not willing to register an FIR, despite this being cognizable offence,” NCPCR said in its letter to Manu Kumar Shrivastva, Additional Chief Secretary.
In a scathing letter, the NCPCR accused the Mumbai Police of delaying registration of FIR against the makers of “Bombay Begums” and even not giving any attention to the Commission’s written request.
“Since, this is a serious issue where police is not following the laid procedure of the land, hence, you are requested to look into this matter and ensure that no further child rights and law of land is violated in this matter,” the NCPCR chief wrote to Maharashtra government.
The NCPCR has also requested that an action taken report may be furnished to the Commission within the next three days.
Bombay Begum portrays children objectionably, normalise casual sex by minors
In March, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights took cognizance of online outrage after several Twitter users called out the OTT platform for its latest web series “Bombay Begums” for wrongfully depicting children. The apex child rights body had asked Netflix to stop streaming the recently released web series “Bombay Begums” citing an inappropriate portrayal of children in the web series.
The notice issued by the Commission said that “from normalizing casual sex by minors, web series are now normalizing the use of drugs among children.”
The notice was issued following complaints received by the Commission from two Twitter handles.
A Twitter user who goes by the handle @DeepikaBhardwaj took strong objection to the depiction of children in Netflix’s Bombay Begum web series. The user protested against the normalization of minors snorting drugs.
From normalisation of minors indulging in casual sex we now have web series showing minors having Cocaine.— Deepika Narayan Bhardwaj (@DeepikaBhardwaj) March 10, 2021
Screengrab from #BombayBegums where a 13yr old is snorting coke as the party she goes to is all about alcohol, drugs.
Sink it in. pic.twitter.com/RXOyq1GaJS
Another popular Twitter user @GemsOfBollywood, known for exposing the Hindi film industry for Hinduphobic and other problematic content, shared a snippet from the web series where girls are shown taking pictures of their “developed body parts” and send them to a classmate.
In a shameful perversion of Hindu religious scriptures, a Tilakdhari politician was seen reading Bhagwad Geeta to conclude that the paramount dharma of a woman is to satisfy a man’s lust.
Tilakdhari corrupt politician reads Bhagwad Geeta published by @iskcon to conclude that Dharma of woman is to satisfy his lust— Gems of Bollywood (@GemsOfBollywood) March 11, 2021
(We read the same Geeta and found it to be totally opposite)
Bollywood Begums by @alankrita601 streaming on @NetflixIndia pic.twitter.com/FPM2R61opH
Taking cognisance of the abominable content under Section 13(1)(j) of CPCR Act, 2005, the Commission had noted that “it is of the view that series with this kind of content will not only pollute the young minds of the children, and may also lead to abuse and exploitation of children in the hands of perpetrators/ offenders(sic)”.
However, neither Maharashtra government has not action has been taken against the makers of the series, nor Netflix has removed the objectionable contents.