Monday, February 15, 2010

Can UTV Bindass be sued for "Emotional Atyachar"?

On flipping channel I recently found a show called "Emotional Atyachar" on UTV Bindass. The main objective of the show is to test if your partner is loyal to you or not. The show reminded me of the "Cheaters" thats aired on CW Plus. In Cheaters, a person can ask the show people to see if their partner is cheating or not. The crew would then follow the "suspected cheater" like a detective armed with cameras and video recorders. On finding that a partner is cheating, the crew allows the couple to confront each other. The whole episode is then shown on the television.

However, "Emotional Atyachar" is significantly different than "Cheaters". While Cheaters passively monitored the suspect, "Emotional Atyachar" will inject real people to allure the suspect to cheat. So "Emotional Atyachar" is not looking if a person is cheating but whether the person can possibly cheat.

The question I want to address is whether "UTV Bindass is liable for damages to an individual personal life or be criminally prosecuted". On searching through the Internet I found that there is a speculation that the whole serial is staged and no "real" life is getting affected. If that is the case then it is not a reality tv and there is no issue of suing as no one is getting hurt. If we do not believe in the speculation then the question is very serious. UTV can be sued for damages or the head of UTV Bindass may go to jail depending on how the laws are applied.

Apart from the ethical issue, there are two main legal issues involved:

1. Is UTV violating Indian broadcasting laws by airing obscene material or by denigrating women? - This is a much broader question which I am not interested to analyze.

2. Is UTV Bindass cheating the suspect by alluring him or her with pre-meditated objective?

The defintion of cheating is in Section 415 in The Indian Penal Code. It reads as:


Cheating.-- Whoever, by deceiving any person, fraudulently or dishonestly induces the person so deceived to ....(snipped).... intentionally induces the person so deceived to do or omit to do anything which he would not do or omit if he were not so deceived, and which act or omission causes or is likely to cause damage or harm to that person in body, mind, reputation or property, is said to" cheat".


And the punishment of cheating is in Section 417 in The Indian Penal Code:


Punishment for cheating.- Whoever cheats shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both.


While sting operation to expose truth in public interest is protected under freedom of speech and expression (Sri Bharadwaaj Media Pvt. Ltd. vs State on 27 November, 2007), the sting operation may not get a blanket protection.

So the final question for "Emotional Atyachar" is whether the person would have acted in that fashion if the allurement was not given.

I have heard that "emotional atyachar" gets permission from the suspect before releasing the video. However, if the person refuses to sign the agreement, he or she can take UTV Bindass to court and test the law.

19 comments:

Arjun said...

Hey Sushant, congrats on indiankanoon - it seems like a very interesting and useful site. Just a couple of thoughts on this post -

* I feel you are mixing up a couple of definitions of 'cheating' i.e. husband cheating on the wife and vice-versa, and UTV cheating the people involved. I don't think think it's 'illegal' in most jurisdictions for spouses to cheat on each other (I hope my wife isn't reading ;)) though I guess it can be used as a case for divorce. I really don't see how UTV can be sued here. To quote you

"The question I want to address is whether "UTV Bindass is liable for damages to an individual personal life or be criminally prosecuted""

- why is this any different from any third person trying to break up a relationship for whatever reason? Surely, such a person cannot be sued...

* Now to my second point, which you actually quickly brush aside - if this whole thing is staged and is marketed as a reality show: now I see potential for a lawsuit :)
Now UTV is *cheating* the viewers into thinking that it is a reality show. Going by your own definition, I can claim I would never be watching this programme if I knew the events here were staged, so I was misled...

Cheers

Sushant said...

@Arjun:

"why is this any different from any third person trying to break up a relationship for whatever reason? Surely, such a person cannot be sued.."

It looks to me that "deceiving in a dishonest or fraudulant way .. that causes mental or reputation harm" will attract Section 415. The law seems pretty broad to me but it has not been tested yet for such an issue.

So while your argument seems correct in a liberal sense, I do not think that it may easily pass the cheating law.

Anonymous said...

This program is not like testing the fidelity of a partner..rather it is like testing a man' character..if a man is a saadhu sanyaasi or just a normal human being. I dont think normally any guy would refuse an attractive girl who is luring for a fuck and making so much advances...sure..even if the man is loyal to his girlfriend...he will just take it as a fun ride..what he says to the girl just for the sake of fun , perhaps cant be taken that seriously and a person fucking a whore type girl like their so called 'crew members' may not be a true reflection of his real feelings for a girl who he is emotionally involved with in a a long time relationship. Anyways..this program is making a tamasha of people's feelings..and the girls going for this so called fidelity test are just making a tamasha of themselves - if they are real at all...a guy is a guy..he can fuck as many as he likes..specially if some attractive girl is seducing and offering him...he may just go for it for a little fun...without actually being infidel to his girlfriend in real sense. Our country i think has gone much ahead of any western country to allow such programs on tv ..i think normal pepole should sue I&B ministry which has allowed all such obscene absurd programs sach ka saamna and emotional atyachaar etc to normal households. and sure, peeping into people's private life perhaps cant be upheld by any law..just some 'lead' ask you to spy on a person's private life and you telecast all that on national tv...it is just ridiculous...and sure if these programs are not just staged ..they can sure be sued in any court .afterall there cant be any public interest to allow spying and telecast two common people's private life.

Sushant said...

@Anonymous

"sure, peeping into people's private life perhaps cant be upheld by any law.."

Well whatever you do in public space is rarely classified as private. So assumption of privacy on public area is not a good one. This is the main reason why Cheaters never lost any lawsuit. Because they only took pictures and videos of things that were in public view.

Anonymous said...

The channel, producer and sponsors of the series or episodes can be sued for defamation once the footage is aired.

CHEATER PERSPECTIVE: One main argument of the legal team is that once the suspected cheater sees that the cameras are filming him, he should cover his face. If he is not covering his face that means he is giving consent to the producers to film him. In other words, if the cheater covers his face immediately upon seeing cameras that means he is not giving consent. Also filming in public places is allowed.

ADVERTISER PERSPECTIVE: There have been an instance where a major advertiser of FMCG products has stayed away from this channel as they termed the legal risk to be on a higher side. A few media buying agencies have also cautioned their clients on the risks involved. According to some client contracts, the media buying agency will be held liable if someone sues.

Anonymous said...

I am pretty sure that they can be sued if the entire series is not staged and is being telecasted on national tv while atleast one person involved in it is against it being tele casted.

Isn't Alluring & Promoting people to make mistakes a crime? Or Do I have all the right to allure/promote ppl to make mistakes and get away with it while I call the person who committed it a "Culprit"?

my thoughts.. lets debate!!!

- I surely wouldnt want someone to tempt me to do a mistake and then tell me im not loyal!!

Anonymous said...

I am amazed why no one is talking of any action to this TV show which is now in 2nd season. I ready sometime in Nov that Law Commission has issued some notice to this show - but never heard what happened?

Sexually alluring fairly young adults and putting it in pubic should be termed as crime. The show also ends up lots of spicy material which not suitable for children or teens.

S said...

Interesting reads :

http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report_ban-shows-like-emotional-atyachar-law-commission_1473134

http://www.hindu.com/mag/2010/11/28/stories/2010112850010100.htm

South Indian Mallu Videos said...

I completely agree Sushant and Mr/Ms Anonymous 3. In cheaters the partner is already cheating.. In this program a girl who's a usually a very model throws herself at the dude...Now I've asked myself this question several times. I'm really in love with my girl and very committed to the relationship. I've no intention of cheating on her... but if out of the blue a super hot girl comes along and asks for a 'rough ride' - would I be able to tell her to get lost... hmmm!!! Seriously, I be so fucked!

Ishaan said...

As much as I agree with the fact that the if the "cheater" is tempted to be disloyal, it is simply wrong, in more ways than one. And I'd rather that a show doesn't enter my relationship armed with hidden cameras. However, I have a major problem with the third comment, the anonymous one. I have never before read such a sexist rant. Not only is he saying that it is somehow natural for all men to cheat, he is assuming that the cheater is always male, thus not extending the same logic to women. Basically according to him men can fuck around for fun and assume that their partners would sit at home and wait for them. If the women don't, they are the 'whore type'. Hell the guy can 'fuck as many as he likes' for 'fun' but the attractive girl is a whore for wanting to have sex. This skewed notion of respectability of the two genders makes me want to punch this nitwit of a man in his face. And I'm sort of shocked that no one else had a problem with anything he said.

EternalNeophyte said...

Mr. Anonymous who says "e..even if the man is loyal to his girlfriend...he will just take it as a fun ride..what he says to the girl just for the sake of fun , perhaps cant be taken that seriously and a person fucking a whore type girl like their so called 'crew members' may not be a true reflection of his real feelings for a girl who he is emotionally involved with in a a long time relationship. Anyways..this program is making a tamasha of people's feelings..and the girls going for this so called fidelity test are just making a tamasha of themselves - if they are real at all...a guy is a guy..he can fuck as many as he likes..specially if some attractive girl is seducing and offering him...he may just go for it for a little fun...without actually being infidel to his girlfriend in real sense. Our country i think has gone much ahead of any western country to allow such programs on tv ..i think normal pepole should sue I&B ministry which has allowed all such obscene absurd programs sach ka saamna and emotional atyachaar etc to normal ..." WELL, I think you are the one who ought to be sued for harboring such sexist thoughts. I pity the girl who is in a "emotional relationship" with you, so you can f**k around and she remains happy that you at least love her even if you don't care enough to remain loyal. Sorry for the rant ...

Anyways, I think it's either all staged or they bribe the guys/gals (by money or promises of some kind) into signing acceptance agreements prior to broadcasting.

Anonymous said...

I have read the above comments but I am still looking for the answer whether it is legal to air someone's private life on television.....and can it be done without the suspects permission......I dnt wanna go into ethical issues of it right now (seeing the sexist nature of some of the comments I think its of no use)......

Sushant said...

AFAIK, it is fine to air things happening in public space even if it is someone's private life.

Anonymous said...

Pjk..
What i think emotional atyachar is a great programme..To catch a cheater is a great social act..Any one trying to stop it being aired will be a cheater..Yes they need to be sued if it is not a reality televison..
Now how the corrupt dont want anna hazare s lokpal to work the same way cheaters would love to sue ibn..But belive me there wil be serious support for ibn..any minister trying to sue them could themself be a cheater ..and they can be sued. or will have to loose the seat..Anyway the one i liked the best is Emotinal Atyachar..Basically India is a place where..all are given free ride..Guys can cheat behind back its so easy..This programmes sponsor have my support

Anonymous said...

WELL SAID

Anonymous said...

WELL SAID

Anonymous said...

WELL SAID

Anonymous said...

What I think emotional atyachar is a worst programme.It sud be stopped showing on TV.If anyone wants to catch a cheater,he/she can contact private detective.There is no point in doing a tamasha on national TV.Is this way we are developing or progessing in mordern society.It may help 10 families to resolve this cheating problem,do you know it leads to breaking 100 more families just by doubting each other,thinking whatever is shown in emotional atychar may be happening in their life and lot of mistrust is being created in life.Family life get disturbed and thereby kids are also affected.I donno whether this programme is shown for betterment of society or just for fun.The people,shown in TV, who are cheating or get cheated are from mordern,desperate people comming from high society and they live an un-ethical life.This cheating is quite obvious.This is not neccesarily speaks the entire Indian culture or middle class indian people minds.stop this non-sense.We even lead a good life when there was no such abusive programme.Requesting UTV to show some value addition programme.what ever they are showing will not help to grow show society in ethical way.I donno the type of people who are running this UTV.

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