“The exercise of artistic freedom lies at the core of speech & expression protected by Article 19(1)(a) of the Indian Constitution. The fundamental right is certainly not absolute…However, to take legal action by resorting to Section 67 has a stifling effect on the exercise of that freedom,” says Siddharth Chandrashekhar, advocate and counsel at Bombay High Court, commenting on the case registered by the Mumbai police against rapper Umesh Khade for one of his songs alleged to be “anti-government”. What is Section 67? Section 67 of the IT Act provides for punishment for publishing or transmitting obscene material or, as India Kanoon shows, any material “which is lascivious or appeals to the prurient interest or if its effect is such as to tend to deprave and corrupt persons”. While the terms lascivious relate to something that can potentially generate sexual excitement, prurient interest means developing interests in sexual matters or activity. What’s the case about? The song in question ‘Bhongali keli Janta'—published by the rapper under his stage name ‘Shambho’— talks about people’s basic rights, farmers’ suicides, and issues related to welfare and development. The Crime Intelligence Unit of the Mumbai police has registered an FIR against Khade claiming that the song is “anti-government”. According to The Hindu, the FIR was registered on April 7 under Sections 504 (intentional insult to provoke breach of peace), 505(2) (statements creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill will between classes) of the Indian Penal Code, and Section 67 (publishing or transmitting obscene material in…
Why a case against Mumbai rapper under sec 67 of IT Act impacts his freedom to express?
Mumbai police registered a case under Sec 67 of IT Act, 2000, against rapper Umesh Khade for one of his songs alleged to be “anti-government”.
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