Plea Challenging Govt's Decision To Block 'Dowry Calculator' Website- Delhi HC Issues Notice To Centre
The Delhi High Court issued a notice and has sought a response from the Centre in a plea wherein the government’s decision to ban the satirical website 'Dowry Calculator' was challenged.
The Bench of Justice Pratibha M. Singh asked if the website was making good revenue out of dowry calculation and said that it was quite creative.
The website 'Dowry Calculator' was launched in the year 2011 and it calculated the amount of dowry on entering a person’s particulars. The website said, ‘it is dedicated to all the match making aunties of India.’. But it was blocked by the government in 2018 following a complaint.
Senior Advocate Siddharth Aggarwal appeared for the petitioner and contended that the website highlighted the social evil in a manner which could not be blocked as it would be contrary to Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution of India, 1950. It was also submitted that the website was a tongue-in-cheek attempt to highlight the social evil of dowry.
CGSC Asheesh Jain appeared for the respondent and submitted that they had invoked the provisions of the Information Technology Rules, 2009, and came to the conclusion that the website was not a satirical take.
In May 2022, the High Court asked the Inter-Ministerial committee constituted by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) to hear the petitioner.
But the Court was informed that the committee had recommended the ministry to retain the decision of blocking the website on the ground that it would encourage social evil.
The Court noted that the Petitioner was initially reluctant to put a disclaimer on the website, however later he agreed to the same.
But the Committee said that even the disclaimer would not help the petitioner.
Accordingly, the High Court issued notice to the Centre and asked the parties to file their written submissions, and listed the matter for further hearing on May 16.