20 Sep 2023 11:31 AM GMT
The Karnataka High Court today adjourned hearing in the petitions moved by news channel Aaj Tak and its consulting editor Sudhir Chaudhary for quashing the FIR registered against them over alleged communal coverage of State's ‘Svalambi Sarathi Scheme' whereby subsidy is given to religious minorities for purchase of vehicles.Single bench of Justice Hemant Chandangoudar extended...
The Karnataka High Court today adjourned hearing in the petitions moved by news channel Aaj Tak and its consulting editor Sudhir Chaudhary for quashing the FIR registered against them over alleged communal coverage of State's ‘Svalambi Sarathi Scheme' whereby subsidy is given to religious minorities for purchase of vehicles.
Single bench of Justice Hemant Chandangoudar extended interim protection granted to Sudhir till October 3, the next date of hearing.
"We will have it on some other day. Don't precipitate till then," the Judge told AG K. Shashi Kiran Shetty.
The FIR said that on September 11 in a news programme, Chaudhary claimed that the Karnataka government was providing the scheme only to the minorities and not to the non-minority Hindus and that it is practicing minority appeasement in the state. Karnataka Minister Priyank Kharge refuted the report in social media and said that scheme was started by the previous government.
Chaudhary's counsel Senior Advocate Uday Holla claimed that the alleged news report only mentioned that in the budget government claimed that the scheme would be open for minorities and SC/ST communities but when the scheme was announced, it was limited only to minorities.
However, the High Court on the last date pointed that such clarification was given only in a subsequent telecast. The initial report only mentioned that the incentive is being extended only to minority community and not Hindus.
"Role of media is to provide information. But this is not the (way in which) information (is) to be provided...Average man may develop hatred towards minority also, saying they have been given (incentive) and not me...It is not that benefits are given only to minorities...(incentives are given) even to corporate entities also...it is not only confined to minorities," the bench had orally remarked.
The FIR is lodged on a complaint filed by the Administrative Officer of the Karnataka State Minorities Development Corporation Ltd., under Sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, etc.) and 505 (statements conducing to public mischief) of the India Penal Code. The offences entail a punishment of 3 years jail term.
"Despite being fully aware of the statements he is making, by publishing such news, he is hatching a conspiracy to disturb communal harmony in the state," the complainant alleged.