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HC breather for Bigg Boss

Mumbai, November 18
The Bombay High Court today stayed the Information and Broadcasting Ministry's directive to TV channel Colors to reschedule its hit reality show 'Bigg Boss' beyond prime time, and issued a notice to the ministry.

Viacom 18, which owns the channel, today moved the High Court, saying that there was "nothing objectionable" in the show hosted by Bollywood superstar Salman Khan, and the ministry's order did not specify which episode or part of the episode "offends decency and good taste". The division bench of Justices DK Deshmukh and ND Deshpande adjourned the hearing to November 22, as nobody appeared on the ministry's behalf. The channel's lawyer, senior counsel Aspi Chinoy, alleged that the ministry did not accept the notice sent by his clients.

The ministry's order says that the content of the programme was not fit to be watched by the children, and was not fit for "unrestrained public exhibition". But advocate Chinoy said that the order did not specify which incident in the show was offensive. In the earlier seasons of the show, ministry had specified what it thought to be objectionable, but not this time, he said. The order also asks the channel to "modify" the show, but doesn't tell "what to modify", Chinoy said. No show-cause notice, or prior hearing was given to the channel he said.

The division bench noted that the channel had not been given a chance to present its case. Besides, it observed, that there was merit in the channel's argument that its advertising deals were dependant on the show being aired in the "prime time", and hence ministry's order led to "severe consequences".

The ministry had yesterday directed Colors airing 'Big Boss' and Imagine airing 'Rakhi ka Insaf' to shift the telecast of the shows between 11 pm and 5 am citing "abusive" language, "objectionable" content and divulging of "intimate" details on the shows. PTI

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