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A Single Judge Bench of Justice Navin Chawla issued notice to the Central Government and Sudharshan TV.
The Delhi High Court today issued notice in a petition challenging the Central government's decision to allow Sudarshan TV's broadcast on Muslim "infiltration" in government services (Syed Mujtaba v. UOI & Ors).
A Single Judge Bench of Justice Navin Chawla issued notice to the Centre and Sudharshan TV.
However, no stay was ordered on the telecast of the show which claims to be a “Big Exposé on Conspiracy to infiltrate Muslims in Government Service".
In its Petition filed through Advocate Shadan Farasat, the Petitioners have asserted that the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India has given its green signal to the proposed show through a non-speaking order which shows no application of mind.
It is asserted that the authorities erroneously refrained from exercising its powers under Sections 19 and 20 of the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act to prohibit the proposed show on the ground that the show was yet to be aired.
".. both in law and in the instant facts, that could not have been a basis for Respondent No.1 (Centre) to shy away from making the said assessment, at least on a prima-facie basis so as to exercise the relevant statutory powers.", the Petitioners have argued.
The Petitioners have thus claimed that there is a need to re-assess the legality of the proposed show and its promo, given that the content of the show constitutes nothing but hate speech.
After hearing the Petitioner, the Court observed that at the present stage, it had no material to determine whether the show would, in any manner, violate the Programme Code.
Considering the Supreme Court's order, which was passed in relation to the proposed broadcast, it was concluded,
Last month, the High Court had disposed of a petition by the same petitioners who sought a prohibition on the airing of the broadcast.
It was then contended that the proposed broadcast constituted hate speech and criminal defamation in terms of Sections 153A(1), 153B(1), 295A and 499 of Indian Penal Code, and violated the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act and its Rules.
Considering that the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting had already issued notice to Sudarshan TV with respect to the proposed broadcast, the Court had asked the parties to take appropriate action after the conclusion of the ministerial proceedings.
The Court had nonetheless imposed a stay on the broadcast till then.
While deciding to allow the broadcast, the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting ruled that unlike a film which gets certification from the CBFC, there was no pre-censorship for a telecast on TV channels.
If at all the programme is found to be violative, action could be taken as per law, the Ministry had ruled.
Advocate Shadan Farast appeared for the Petitioners.
Read the Order: