Netflix India’s new release Bombay Begums depicts the lives of five women who hail from various backgrounds in Mumbai. The show captures their journey and struggles as they try to make a mark amidst the unsettled workings of a chauvinistic social order.
However, on Thursday (11th March), the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) issued a notice to Netflix asking the OTT platform to stop streaming its new series Bombay Begums.
It objected to the alleged inappropriate portrayal of children in the show, and this action was taken based on a complaint by two Twitter handles that accused the show of normalizing minors indulging in casual sex and drug abuse. The Twitter handle stated, “From normalization of minors indulging in casual sex we now have web series showing minors having cocaine. Screengrab from BombayBegums where a 13yr old is snorting coke as the party she goes to is all about alcohol, drugs (sic).”
Thus, the commission stated such a portrayal of children in the show Bombay Begums could "pollute young minds" and could also lead to child abuse and exploitation.
Live Law reported, “Citing inappropriate portrayal of children in the web series, the apex child rights body NCPCR has asked Netflix to immediately stop streaming 'Bombay Begums' and furnish a detailed action report within 24 hours, failing which, the notice says, it will be constrained to initiate appropriate legal action.”
It also further stated the Apex child rights body took the account of the tweets under the legal provisions in Section 13 (1) (j) of CPCR [the Commissions for Protection of Child Rights] Act 2005.
Under this specific provision, the commission is allowed to probe into complaints and take suo motu notice of matters relating to,-
- deprivation and violation of child rights;
- non-implementation of laws providing for protection and development of children;
- non-compliance of policy decisions, guidelines or instructions aimed at mitigating hardships to and ensuring the welfare of the children and to provide relief to such children, or take up the issues arising out of such matters with appropriate authorities
Thus, the commission called this matter a ‘serious issue’ and in the notice to Netflix stated:
"The series with this type of content will not only pollute the young minds of the children, and may also result in the abuse and the exploitation of children at the hand of the perpetrators/offenders."
The Commission has also emphasized that it does not permit representing, portraying, and glorifying children in India in such a manner on any media on any public platform, the internet, or any OTT medium.
"Netflix should take extra precaution while streaming any content in respect of the children or for the children and shall also, refrain themselves from getting into such things," the commission further said in its notice.
"Therefore, you are directed to look into this matter and immediately stop streaming of this series and furnish a detailed action report within 24 hours, failing which the Commission will be constrained to initiate appropriate action pursuant to the provisions of Section 14 of the CPCR (Commission for Protection of Child Rights) Act, 2005," the commission added.