New Delhi: The Supreme Court today put off till tomorrow a hearing on a plea against television channel Sudarshan News. This plea pertains to the channel’s programme and alleges that it contains statements in a show called “UPSC Jihad” about how Muslims have “infiltrated” the Indian civil services.
There is a restraining order imposed by the court on a show called ‘Bindas Bol’ of the channel.
The three-judge bench of Justices DY Chandrachud, Indu Malhotra and KM Joseph directed the Registry to obtain administrative orders from the Chief Justice of India for constituting the bench tomorrow for hearing the case, as the Bench is otherwise not scheduled to sit on Friday.
During the hearing today, Senior Advocate Shyam Divan informed the Court that the channel has filed its counter affidavit. Senior Advocate Anoop Chaudhari, appearing for the petitioner, sought time to file his rejoinder as he received the counter only at 12pm today.
Justice Joseph asked advocate Shadan Farasat for the CDs of the four episodes telecast by the channel. Farasat said he will send the links for the show right away.
Justice Joseph also asked Senior Advocate Diwan if his client is a ‘broadcaster’ or a ‘cable tv operator’. After being informed that Sudarshan TV channel is a broadcaster, Justice Joseph explained that he posed the query as the Cable TV Act makes a distinction the between two.
Justice Chandrachud said that while the bench is not scheduled to sit tomorrow, he can make a request to the CJI to constitute the bench tomorrow.
The apex court in its last hearing had made some strong observations while restricting news channel Sudarshan TV from telecasting the remaining episodes of its show ‘Bindas Bol’ that talks about about Muslims who get through the UPSC exam until further orders.
Justice Chandrachud had observed that it appears that the program’s object is to vilify the Muslim community and make it responsible for an insidious attempt to infiltrate the civil services. The Court is bound by its duty to ensure that the Cable TV Act and the programme code under it are adhered to. He had also stated that the edifice of a stable democratic society and observance of constitutional rights and duties is based on coexistence of communities, and any attempt to vilify a community must be viewed with disfavour.
-India Legal Bureau
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