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Delhi HC Issues Notice On Plea Challenging Centre's Decision To Allow Telecasting Of Sudarshan TV Show Allegedly Communalising UPSC Recruitment Of Muslims [Read Petition]

11 Sep 2020 10:12 AM GMT
Delhi HC Issues Notice On Plea Challenging Centres Decision To Allow Telecasting Of Sudarshan TV Show Allegedly Communalising UPSC Recruitment Of Muslims [Read Petition]

Suresh Chavhanke, Editor-in-Chief, Sudarshan News TV

Delhi High Court on Friday issued notice on a petition challenging the Order of Ministry of Information and Broadcasting's allowing the telecast of a show 'Bindas Bol" which allegedly communalising UPSC recruitment of Muslims.

However Justice Navin Chawla has refused to stay the broadcast of the show.

In the Petition filed through Advocate Shadan Farasat alleged that the Centre has refrained from exercising its powers under Sections 19 and 20 of the Cable TV Act to prohibit the Proposed Show.

"The Impugned Order 
is a non-speaking order and for the purposes of adjudicating this Petition, only one paragraph of the Impugned Order is relevant which contains the entirety of reasoning and decision"

The Petitioners contended that the assessment made by the Ministry has simply been abandoned on a statement of Respondents No. 2 and 3 that there is no violation of the Programme Code. There is no independent application of mind to the facts and circumstances of the case.

"Sections 19 and 20 of the Cable TV Act expressly permit the Respondent No.1 to "prohibit" the transmission of a program if the same is found to be in violation of the Programme Code and/or Section 19. The power to prohibit "transmission" has been used separately from the power to prohibit "re- transmission". If there is a power to prohibit transmission separate from a power to prohibit re-transmission, it falls to reason that the broadcast of a program can be prohibited before it is aired for the first time. In fact, Section 19, by the use of the standard of "likelihood", makes it even more explicit that the power of prohibition therein can be exercised prior to broadcast. And if broadcast of a program can be prohibited before it is aired, then as a sequitur, the non-airing 
of the program cannot be a ground to not prohibit its airing in exercise of powers under Sections 19 and 20 of the Cable TV Act"

On Tuesday Central Government has permitted Sudarshan News TV to telecast its controversial programme titled "Bindass Bol", which was earlier stayed by the Delhi High Court on a prima facie finding that its promo/ trailer is violative of the Programme Code set out under the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995.

As the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting gave a green signal to the news channel, the show, allegedly about 'Muslim infiltration' in civil services,

The Ministry took note of the channel's submission that the show does not violate any law and that if at all any of its content is found to be e violative, action as per law may be taken. It thus granted permission with a caution as under:

"Having regard to the aforementioned facts and circumstances of the case, Sudarshan TV channel is hereby directed to ensure that the programme proposed to be telecast does not violate any of the programme codes. If any violation of the programme code is found, action as per law will be taken."

On August 28, the Delhi High Court stayed the broadcast of 'Bindass Bol' show, after a petitioner submitted that its trailer openly engages in hate speech and defamation against students of Jamia Milia Islamia and the Muslim community.

The petitioners had 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".

Subsequently, the High Court disposed of the petition with a direction to the Central Government, which had already issued notice to the channel, to finally decide on matter within 48 hours of the receipt of the response from the news channel.

In its representation before the Ministry, the news channel refuted the attempted pre-censorship. It submitted:

"The Ministry has sought clarification about the programme which is planned to be run at a later time. The channel has requested for being informed as to whether there is any practice in the Ministry for seeking explanation prior to the running of a programme. It is further submitted that according to the channel it is its right to telecast a programme and if the said programme is found to be violative of law then action may be taken; however, prior to the running of the programme the script may not be asked for."

It was contended that the Ministry's Notice was an attempt to do pre-censorship of a TV programme which is unprecedented and violative of the constitutional rights of the TV channel.

Click Here To Download Petition

[Read Petition]

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