IPL inaugural ceremony case: HC reserves judgement



IPL inaugural ceremony case: HC reserves judgementMadurai: The Madras High Court on Thursday reserved its judgement on a plea seeking initiation of criminal action against Bollywood actors, including Amitabh Bachchan, cricketers and other celebrities for staging an `obscene` performance during the inaugural ceremony of IPL-V in April.

Justice N Kirubakaran of the bench here directed Tamil Nadu DGP to communicate to all the police stations in the state, seeking details about the number of cases filed under the Cable TV Regulation Act.

The judge sought the details from the state police and reserved the judgement.

The judge earlier directed the Centre to spell out the reasons for not establishing a statutory body to improve standards of broadcasting companies as in the case of newspapers and news agencies through the Press Council Act 1978.

Chennai Police submitted that a FIR was registered following a complaint lodged by a Madurai lawyer. However, the judge expanded the scope of the case to deal with the issue of regulating television content in public interest.

The Additional Solicitor General earlier informed that the broadcast media was already being controlled by the News Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA), a self-regulatory mechanism of the News Broadcasters` Association, chaired by former Chief Justice of India J S Verma.

It was also under the scanner of the Broadcasting Content Complaints Council headed by former Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court A P Shah. The BCCC was also a self-regulatory body constituted by the Indian Broadcasters` Association and entertained complaints from viewers.

The Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act 1995 was amended in 2000 to include District Magistrates (Collectors) and Police Commissioners as `authorised officers` empowered to initiate action when provisions of the legislation were violated, the ASG said.

The judge then ordered the Centre to submit, at the next hearing, countrywide statistics relating to complaints entertained by the district magistrates or police commissioners and the action they had taken.

Counsel for Bachchan and a private TV channel Krishna Srinivasan wondered how the actor could be included in the case when he had done nothing except making a speech.

"What is wrong with dance performances? That is common even in Olympic Games inaugural ceremony. Obscenity was subjective issue," he said.

Earlier the judge said obscenity must be determined from Indian layman`s point of view.

Counsel for BCCI President N Srinivasan and IPL Governing Council Chairman Rajeev Shukla said his clients had nothing to do with the inaugural programme as the contract for organising it was given to a private event management company.

Counsel for Salman Khan, Kareena Kapoor and others contended that his clients were professional actors who did as directed by choreographers.

The court had last month observed there was prima facie evidence to show that an `obscene` performance was held during the inaugural ceremony of IPL-V in Chennai in April.

PTI