Adult-rated films boasting raunchy or violent material have been banned from Indian cable TV networks in a "public interest" court ruling.

The embargo encompasses risque Bollywood films but has controversially failed to affect foreign broadcasters, including media mogul Rupert Murdoch's Star network.

ROOP SHARMA, president of the All India Cable Operators Association, complains, "The high court ruled yesterday that cable operators will not be permitted to show on television movies having "A" and "U/A" censor certificates.

"The order is unfair on poor cable operators, while the foreign broadcasters such as HBO and Star with deep pockets have escaped."

The suit was filed by a lecturer at a Mumbai (Bombay) college in 2004.

The Indian government has also proposed a ban on broadcasting scenes depicting cigarette smoking.