The Delhi High Court has stayed the broadcast of a show of Sudarshan News channel allegedly based on "infiltration of Muslims" in the Civil Services, on a plea filed by students of Jamia Millia Islamia.
The stay order has been passed by a single-Bench of Justice Navin Chavla in an urgent hearing.
The Central Government Counsel appearing for the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, on instructions, submitted that several complaints were received by the Ministry against the program proposed to be telecast by Sudarshan TV and that it has issued notice to it. The notice issued to the channel stated :
"1. This Ministry has received several complaints regarding a programme which is proposed to be broadcast on Sudarshan News TV from 28.08.2020 at 8.00 PM. In the promo of the proposed programme which is viral on Social Media Platforms, Shri Chavhanke for Sudarshan TV News Channel is raising concerns how people of a particularly community have suddenly increased in IAS and IPS cadre, etc.
2. You are therefore, requested to clarify on the above in context of the Programme Code enshrined under Cable Television Network Rules, 1994 by return mail."
In this circumstance, the single bench of the Delhi HC proceeded to stay the telecast of the program, which was scheduled at 8 PM today.
Advocate Shadan Farasat for the petitioners had sought prohibition of the proposed broadcast of a program titled "Bindas Bol" on Sudarshan News, scheduled to be aired at 8 pm today, allegedly containing content that may defame, attack and incite hatred against Jamia Milia Islamia, its alumni and the Muslim community at large.
As per the Petitioners, they have seen the trailer of the show, anchored by journalist Suresh Chavhanke, in which Mr. Chavhanke has openly engaged in hate speech and defamation against students of Jamia Milia Islamia and the Muslim community.
The petitioners submitted the show claims that the success of Jamia Milia Islamia students in the Civil Services examination 2020 represents a "conspiracy to infiltrate the civil service by Muslims".
It was submitted that Mr. Chavhanke has "openly incited his target non-Muslim audience by fear-mongering that "jihadis" or terrorists from Jamia Milia Islamia would soon hold positions of authority and power like that of Collector and Secretary."
It was contended that the proposed broadcast along with the trailer violates the programme code set out under the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, read with the Cable Television Networks Rules 1994. The proposed broadcast and trailer also constitute hate speech and criminal defamation and is an offence under Sections 153A (1), 153B(1), 295A and 499 of the Indian Penal Code.
"The proposed broadcast, if allowed to go ahead, would present a clear and present danger to the security of the Petitioners, as well as that of other students and alumni of Jamia Milia Islamia including those who cleared the Civil Services Exam in 2020, as well as the Muslim community at large, and would leave them open to the imminent threat of violence, including the possibility of lynching. This would amount to an extremely egregious violation of the right to life and personal liberty guaranteed to the Petitioners under Article 21 of the Constitution," the Petitioners contended.
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