The Rajasthan High Court on Wednesday issued a notice to the central government seeking to know the reasons behind its decision to bar airing of condom advertisements on TV channels between 6 am and 10 pm.
A bench of Chief Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice DC Somani issued a notice to the central government, hearing a petition filed by an NGO.
"The information and broadcasting ministry has received the notice and will reply to it," a ministry official said.
In an advisory to all television channels on December 11, the information and broadcasting ministry asked them to restrict airing of condom advertisements to slots between 10 pm and 6 am, as these "could be indecent/inappropriate for viewing by children".
The NGO claimed that the action of the ministry was against the interest of the public.
The NGO also claimed the move showed the "hypocritical approach" of the government, wherein it 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 plea contends that kids and adolescents must also know about safe sex and must be given sex education. "There is not an iota of reason as to how an advertisement for condom is an unhealthy practice," it noted.
Earlier, the ministry said that it was brought to its notice that some channels carried advertisements of condoms repeatedly which were alleged to be indecent, especially for children.
It 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 also cited Rule 7 (8) which states that "indecent, vulgar, suggestive, repulsive or offensive themes or treatment shall be avoided in all advertisements", and asked TV channels not to telecast the advertisements of condoms.