The Delhi High Court has asked the Centre to clarify its stand on a PIL alleging racist overtones in an advertisement aired on Neo Sports showing India as an "inhospitable host" during Indo-West India and Indo-Sri Lanka matches.
Neo Sports is the TV channel of private broadcaster Nimbus Communications.
Recently, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting issued show cause notice to Nimbus on the advertisement.
A bench comprising Chief Justice MK Sharma and Justice Sanjeev Khanna asked the Centre's counsel to take instructions from the government with regard to the advertisement. It also asked Nimbus counsel to be present on the next date of hearing - February 21.
The court's direction came on a PIL filed by one TKA Padmanabhan, seeking a direction to Nimbus restraining it from telecast of the advertisement.
Seeking imposition of damages on Nimbus, BCCI and Centre for not taking steps to stop airing of such advertisements, the PIL said the government has failed to protect the Indian pride and sentiments.
The two controversial advertisments, which depict India as inhospitable and irresponsible host to the people of West Indies and Sri Lanka, showed a West Indian after having spicy food at dhaba asks for a glass of water but denied. The advertisement ends with "It will be tough for West Indians In India."
With the onset of Sri Lankan series, the sports channel repeated the advertisement with the slight modification by using Sri Lankans instead of West Indians and the captions runs as 'Now it will be tough for Sri Lankans in India.'
"These advertisements have nothing to do with promoting any product or cricket and these are being aired deliberately to belittle and to insult the entire nation," the PIL said.