The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Thursday issued summons to Punjabi rap singer Honey Singh to appear before it on May 14 to respond to allegations against him for singing obscene songs.

The order came on a public interest litigation petition by the Punjab-based NGO HELP, which sought the court’s intervention to set up a mechanism to check vulgar songs by Punjabi singers. A reference was made to a song ‘Main Hoon Balatkari’ sung by Honey Singh, which caused outrage in the backdrop of the nationwide protests against the gang rape of a Delhi girl in 2012.

The petitioner-NGO said all limits of decency were being violated by such songs, more so since their production was an offence under Section 294 of the Indian Penal Code. There was a spurt in obscene songs sung and recorded by Punjabi singers and the Punjab government was not doing anything to curb the menace, the PIL said.

The NGO said the dignity of a human being could not be violated under the garb of right to freedom of speech and expression (Article 19), adding that as part of right to life enshrined under Article 21, women had the right to protect their dignity.

On March 1, the Punjab government informed the court that it was in the process of finalising a policy to ban vulgar and sexist songs, but it did not give a concrete reply during Thursday’s hearing.