HC slams NGO over plea challenging restriction on airing condom ads

The bench came down heavily on the NGO and said that they were not espousing their cause but the cause of someone else.


The Rajasthan High Court has dismissed a plea against the Centre’s order allowing the airing of condom advertisements only after 10 PM and rebuked the petitioner NGO for “proxy litigation”, observing that the “obscene” ads were only aimed at promoting condoms as ‘instruments of pleasure’ and not for contraceptive use.

The NGO claimed that the action of the ministry was against the interest of the public. It also claimed the move showed the “hypocritical approach” of the government. “The Government is, on the one hand, promoting family planning and awareness about AIDS and STD, but on the other, it is obstructing dissemination of condom advertisements that are crucial for family planning, reducing abortion deaths and awareness about HIV-AIDS and STD (sexually transmitted diseases),” the petition said.

The bench dismissed the petition yesterday, holding that the advisory issued to regulate the telecast of advertisement of condoms was well within the purview of the authorities The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting had in an advisory to all television channels in December last year asked them to restrict condom advertisements to late night between 10 PM and 6 AM.

A bench of justices Gopal Krishan Vyas and G R Moolchandani said. “You are not concerned with the use of condom as a contraceptive but for preventing STDs (sexually transmitted diseases). We fail to understand what’s wrong if the obscene advertisements in the name of condoms are regulated and allowed only between 10 PM to 6 AM. This country has grown from 45 crore population post-Independence to over 1.3 billion as of now. Where were you and the condom campaign to prevent population explosion?”

The bench came down heavily on the NGO and said that they were not espousing their cause but the cause of someone else. The court does not appreciate proxy litigation. The advertisements are so obscene that one cannot watch them in Indian social structure with family.

The ministry had said that it was brought to its notice that some channels carry advertisements of condoms repeatedly which are alleged to be indecent, especially for children It had referred to Rule 7 (7)of the Cable Television Networks Rules 1994, which says, “No advertisement which endangers the safety of children or create in them any interest in unhealthy practices or shows them begging or in an undignified or indecent manner shall not be carried in the cable service” It had also cited Rule 7 (8) which states that “indecent, vulgar, suggestive, repulsive or offensive themes or treatment shall be avoided in all advertisements”.

TV channels are hereby advised not to telecast the advertisements of condoms, which are for a particular age group, and could be indecent/inappropriate for viewing by children, the advisory read.

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