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Content having profanities cannot be regulated by criminalising it: SC

Availability of content having profanities and swear words on social media and OTT platforms cannot be regulated by “criminalising it as obscene”, the Supreme Court said on Tuesday while quashing an FIR lodged against TVF and others for alleged obscenity in a web series.
The top court set aside the Delhi High Court verdict of March 6, 2023, by which it had upheld an order of the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) asking the Delhi Police to register an FIR in connection with an episode in web series, College Romance’, against TVF, the show’s director Simarpreet Singh and actor Apoorva Arora under the Information Technology Act.
The apex court noted that the high court had taken the meaning of the language in its literal sense, outside the context in which such expletives have been spoken, and the order was a “disproportionate and excessive measure that violates freedom of speech, expression, and artistic creativity”.
We are of the opinion that the High Court was not …