Sach ka Saamna offends? Turn off your TV: Delhi HC

Rajeev khandelwal
Delhi High Court today threw out two petitions against the game show Sach ka Saamna, saying "moral policing" was not its job, and advised those offended by the show to turn off their TVs.

The judges slammed the petition as an example of the "misuse" of public interest litigation and, going a step ahead, also ridiculed the "hypocrisy of various ministers and parliamentarians" over deciding broadcasting law and television content.

"In this land of Gandhi, it appears that nobody follows Gandhi... Follow the Gandhian principle of 'see no evil'. Why do you not simply switch off the TV?" a division bench of Chief Justice A P Shah and Justice Manmohan told the petitioners.

"We have very good advice for you. You have got two judges sitting here who do not watch TV at all. It will certainly help."

Individual ideas of morality were not the business of the court, the judges said. "We are not sitting here for moral policing... You approach the Parliament and get the remedy. The courts cannot be expected to deal with issues that involve different individual perceptions."

The plea by petitioners Deepak Maini and Prabhat Kumar was an "example of how PILs are being misused" in a country that faces "several far more serious problems", the bench said. "Let the government decide whether the programme is to be banned or not. We are not getting into it."

To the contention that the show — in which contestants are asked 'objectionable' questions in front of family and friends — was against the culture of India, the court said: "Our culture is not so fragile that it will be affected by one TV show. Moreover, nobody in his individual capacity can be allowed to take upon the social order and ask for directions."

"You are asking us to entertain an area which deals with perceptions and opinions. Further, morality yardsticks are to be decided by the government. We cannot decide the issue," the judges told the counsel for petitioners, former Additional Solicitor General Vikas Singh.

While repeatedly directing the petitioners to take the issue to the legislature and executive, the court was scathing on lawmakers.

"I am not sure whether the show has brought out the truth of many people but it is certain that it has brought out the hypocrisy of various ministers and parliamentarians," Justice Shah said.

He made the comment in reference to the repeated flip-flops by MPs over broadcasting bills and endless debates over self-regulation of TV channels in both Houses. "We have seen numerous debates on self-regulation and what not over the broadcasting rules, though leading to nothing," Justice Shah said.

"Probably the issue is so complicated that the Government is still contemplating."

A number of MPs had created a song and dance in Parliament last week over the alleged 'obscene' content of Sach ka Saamna, following which the Information and Broadcasting Ministry had slapped a showcause notice on broadcaster Star Plus.

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