Delhi HC notice to Centre on plea challenging blocking of website ‘Dowry Calculator’

The Delhi High Court on Monday issued notice to the Centre on a plea filed by journalist Tanul Thakur, the owner of a satirical website named ‘Dowry Calculator’ challenging the government’s 2018 decision to block it.

Thakur created the website in 2011.

Acting on then Union Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi’s complaint, the government blocked it.

A single-judge bench of Justice Prathiba M. Singh heard the plea challenging a June 20, 2022 communication and an inter-ministerial committee’s report which said that the website ought to continue remain blocked. She asked the government and petitioner to file their written submissions, and listed the matter for the next hearing on May 15.

Senior advocate Siddharth Aggarwal, appearing for Thakur, submitted that he started the website to highlighting the social evil of dowry and so that people stop doing it, but the government says that it will defame India in the eyes of the world.

“This is like a stand up comic or anybody else … which makes fun of a social evil to try and get people not to follow it. The difficulty is that when we start taking everything so literally, that the ministry says that ‘no, this will defame India in the eyes of the world’,” he said.

“This is a free website, zero revenue… It shines a mirror. It seems they (government) are saying that dowry will go away if we stop hearing the word,” counsel added.

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