In his PIL, Sagadevaraja had stated that the explicit visuals shown in such commercials pose serious concern for the young.

Child watching tv playing condom adImage for Representation
news Court Thursday, November 12, 2020 - 18:43

The Madurai Bench of Madras High Court on Wednesday ordered an interim ban on commercials that promote vulgarity, especially those selling products such as condoms and other contraceptives, sexual health-related medicines, inner wear, soap, ice cream and perfumes. The court was hearing a public interest litigation (P'IL) filed by Sagadevaraja, a resident of Rajapalayam in Virudhunagar district.

In his PIL, Sagadevaraja had stated that the explicit visuals shown in such commercials pose serious concern for the young. “They show women in an objectionable light. Such commercials will have to be censored. Those who violate will have to be punished. Until such time a censor board is set up for screening television commercials, they should be banned from airing on TV,” he had said in his PIL.

The bench comprising Justices N Kirubakaran and B Pugalendhi who heard the petition ordered an interim ban on such commercials and directed the Ministry Information and Technology Secretary and Tamil Development and Information Department Secretary to file their response. They posted the matter for hearing two weeks later.

In 2017, an advisory from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting strictly directed television channels from airing advertisements selling and promoting condoms during prime time 1.e. 6 am to 10 pm. The government deemed them “indecent”, especially for children. The statement had clarified that the ban was only on commercials with sexually explicit content, that objectified women.

Notably, in Tamil Nadu emergency contraceptive pills are hard to come by in pharmacies. Tamil Nadu Drugs Control Administration has clarified that there is no ban or restriction on the sale of emergency contraceptive pills. However, there exists a ban for medical abortion pills that falls under Schedule ‘K’ of the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules 1945 and is therefore exempted from sale licenses, and this is a cause for misconception among pharmacists in the state. 

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