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Bombay HC bans telecasting Ads selling superstitious goods

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Tanvi Sinha

By the means of a petition that was brought to the Bombay High Court by one Rajendra S/o Ganpatrao Ambhore, teacher, concerning the sales of superstitious goods on television against respondents that included the government, the telemart shopping network and other associated acts, and the celebrities who promoted the product on the network, the sale of such products has now been directed by the HC to be ceased on television completely.

The two-judge bench of Justice Tanaji Nalawade and Justice Mukund Sewlikar gave the order out on 5th January, 2021, after almost 5 years of the petitioner having come in contact with the product that caused this.

The court in a 27-page judgement stated that any propagation of a material on TV that promises superstitious things such as the promise of making someone happy, the promise of being successful in a job, in marriage and other such instances would be classified under the Section 3 of the Black Magic Act and would be classified illegal.

The purpose of the Act itself is to bring social awareness to the populous and create a space where the common man cannot be exploited by evil and sinister practices that thrive on ignorance. The court spoke of how the act of duping the public on the pretext of something that has no scientific basis but preys on the ignorance of the common man would when read with the object of the Act be something that would be prohibited by the Act under Section 3.

The object in question a “Hanuman Chalisa Yantra” that promises things ranging from getting a job to getting a marriage to curing illnesses backed by a man who has allegedly attained Siddhi, i.e. the ability to do anything (Baba Mangalnath) was more than capable of manipulating an ordinary man to buy something he would have never otherwise considered doing.

Additionally, the court could, without any hesitation, say that the respondents selling the object had no conclusive proof of anything that they stated the yantra could do.

The court hence strictly forbade the telecast of such materials and gave directions to the state to prohibit the same along with a direction to create cells that would curtail the existence of such advertisements or other things if this was not possible for the same objective.

The court also stated any network going against its orders would face a charge on the basis of the Maharashtra Prevention and Eradication of Human Sacrifice and other Inhuman, Evil and Aghori Practices and Black Magic Act, 2013 and developments on this would be reported to the court by state and centre within 30 days.