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"We Have The Constitutional Duty To Protect Human Dignity As It Is Important As Protecting Free Speech": Justice Chandrachud In Sudarshan TV Show Matter

Akshita Saxena
18 Sep 2020 11:36 AM GMT
We Have  The Constitutional Duty To Protect Human Dignity As It Is Important As Protecting Free Speech: Justice Chandrachud In Sudarshan TV Show Matter
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Justice DY Chandrachud has observed that the right to human dignity is as important as the freedom of speech and expression. The remark was made by him while hearing the Sudarshan News TV's case against restraint of its controversial show "Bindas Bol", as the Top court was of a prima facie view that the show vilified the Muslim community."Let the marketplace of ideas flourish in India. We...

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Justice DY Chandrachud has observed that the right to human dignity is as important as the freedom of speech and expression.

The remark was made by him while hearing the Sudarshan News TV's case against restraint of its controversial show "Bindas Bol", as the Top court was of a prima facie view that the show vilified the Muslim community.

"Let the marketplace of ideas flourish in India. We know what happened during the Emergency. But, we have the constitutional duty to protect human dignity and that is as important as protecting free speech," Justice Chandrachud said while directing the channel to file a clear affidavit indicating the good faith efforts it is willing to take to protect dignity of the affected community.

The remarks were made as the bench, also comprising of Justices Indu Malhotra and KM Joseph, noted that the show has been presented in an 'inciteful manner'.

Justice Chandrachud noted that a stereotypical representation of the Muslim community and consistent implication that a particular community is "infiltrating" the bureaucracy is an important issue that needs to be considered.

Representation Of Muslims With a Beard, Skull cap and Green Face, With Flames in the Background:SC Says Sudarshan TV Presented Allegations In An 'Inciteful Manner' In 'UPSC Jihad' Show

"Whenever you refer to the Civil Services, you refer to the ISI and that is a serious concern as you show it as a conspiracy by Muslims. Of course do your investigative journalism, but can we allow such implications being made?" he speculated.

He acknowledged that the channel's report raises some questions of national security however, he reiterated that the same has to be read alongside human dignity.

"As judges we are also concerned about national security. But, we have to protect human dignity as well," he said.

He observed that there is no restriction upon investigative journalism. However, he emphasized that the to say that every member of a community represents a terrorist organisation, just because some funding member, is "not above the Board".

He said that as soon as the channel draws such an inference, it becomes a cause of concern because this is where it goes from free speech to hatred as it implies that every member of that community has an agenda.

"You alienate the good members, who are like everyone else, of the community with this sort of a propaganda," he remarked.

He has now given time to the channel to file an affidavit and indicate how it plans to strike a balance.

"Let a message go to the media that we need to fight for a nation that is inclusive, that is able," he said.

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