Madurai, Jul 25: The Madurai Bench of Madras High Court has ruled that condoms cannot be marketed with obscene visuals either printed on the wrappers or in advertisements issued in visual and print media.
Chief Justice A K Ganguly and Justice P Jyothimani gave the direction last evening on a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Mr C Ravikumar, a city-based businessman, seeking to ban obscene pictures on packages and advertisements for condoms, The petitioner claimed the obscene pictures created wrong impression about condoms which were primarily medical products and not inducers of sexual desire.
The Bench ordered all marketing activities should be certified by the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), a self-regulatory voluntary organization of the advertising industry.
The certification should be issued in accordance with Article 51 A (f) of the Constitution which stipulates it is the fundamental duty of every citizen to value and preserve the rich heritage and composite culture.
The judges further said the right to carry on business, protected under Article 19 (1) (g) of the constitution, also stipulates that such right is subject to reasonable restrictions that could be imposed in the interest of decency and morality. Stating that it is difficult for the court to fix standards of decency and morality, the Judges said the ASCI would be in a better position to deal with such issues.
The judges passed the orders after hearing Assistant Solicitor General of India C Arul Vadivel on behalf of the Centre. Condom manufacturing companies like TTK-LIG, Hindustan Latex, Pashupathi Seohung, JK, Ansell were also listed as respondents to the PIL.