Delhi High Court Sought Centre’s Reply On Petition Against Ban Of Satirical ‘Dowry Calculator’ Website

The Delhi High Court on January 23 (Monday) sought a reply from the Centre on a petition filed by ‘Dowry Calculator’, a satirical website, challenging the Central Government’s decision to impose a ban on it. According to the lawyer for the petitioner, the ‘Dowry Calculator’ makes fun of the social evil of dowry practice, and it is self-evident that it is a parody.

While inquiring about the website’s profitability, Justice Pratibha M Singh asked if it was generating good revenue from dowry calculation and said, “it is quite creative, though.” The website was launched in 2011 and estimated the amount of dowry on inputting a person’s particulars. ‘Dowry Calculator’ states it is “dedicated to all the match-making aunties of India”.

High Court Sought Reply From Centre

The Delhi HC has listed the matter for the next hearing on May 16. Further, it released a notification for the Centre and asked the parties to register their written submissions along with relevant case laws.

According to Siddharth Aggarwal, a Senior advocate appearing for Tanul Thakur, the petitioner and the creator of the website claimed that ‘Dowry Calculator’ is a free website and has zero revenue. The counsel submitted, “The website makes fun of the social evil (dowry practice). It is self-evident that it is a satire. It makes fun of social evil. It does not encourage dowry. But the government’s stand is that it will defame India in the eyes of the world.”

What Plea States?

The plea stated that the website was launched in May 2011 to emphasise the immorality of dowry, and it is a tongue-in-cheek attempt to expose the pervasive societal evil in this country, reported NDTV.

It said that in 2018 the central government banned ‘Dowry Calculator’ following a complaint. Later, in May 2022, the HC asked a committee formed by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) to provide a hearing to the petitioner. However, on Monday, the court was informed that the committee had recommended to the ministry that the decision to restrict the website be maintained on the grounds that the website’s viewpoint is not humorous.

The plea said that initially, the petitioner was hesitant to include a disclaimer on the website, but he is now prepared to do so. It added, however, the committee believes that it will promote social evil.

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