New Delhi: Concerned over alleged explicit pictures on condom packs, contraceptives and other sexual wellness products, the Supreme Court has sought a reply from the Centre to explain whether they violate law.
A bench headed by Chief Justice of India TS Thakur had sought a report from Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh to clarify whether explicit pictures on condom packs were “actionable” and breached laws against obscenity.
The apex court bench has reportedly given six-week time to Singh to file a reply in his regard.
“You tell us whether action can be taken on these ads or not… Take a look at the advertisements available on record and also others and then tell us what is your stand,” the bench told the ASG.
It asked Singh to sift through case files containing “objectionable” pictures on packets of condoms and contraceptives and apprise the court whether the ads complied with advertising norms and the law against obscenity.
“Do you have any plan to regulate such advertisements? Is there a way you can check what is going to be printed on these packets or can you take action only after these packets with pictures are available in the market? You also have to tell us if such advertisements may constitute a penal offence,” the bench told Singh.
The bench passed the order while responding to a batch of appeals filed by Hindustan Latex and a few other manufacturers of condoms and contraceptives against a 2008 order of the Madras High Court.
The High Court, while deciding a PIL, had directed condom manufacturers to keep their packaging and ads free of “sexy” pictures on the ground that they were obscene and an affront to Indian culture.
It had asked them to obtain permission from Advertising Standards Council of India for condom ads and packaging. In September 2008, the apex court had stayed the High Court order, thereby allowing manufacturers to continue using such pictures.
In February, the bench asked the government and the Central Board of Film Certification to clarify their stand regarding ads on packets of condoms and contraceptives.