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[BREAKING] Delhi HC refuses to lift stay on Sudarshan TV's broadcast on Muslim "infiltration" in government services

Sudarshan TV moved the High Court for vacation of stay in light of the Supreme Court order refusing to grant any such relief on the broadcast.

Aditi Singh

The Delhi High Court today refused to lift its stay on Sudarshan TV's broadcast on Muslim "infiltration" in government services (Syed Mujtaba v. UOI & Ors).

Sudarshan TV moved the High Court for vacation of stay in light of the Supreme Court order refusing to grant any such relief against the broadcast.

Hearing was held by a Single Judge Bench of Justice Navin Chawla post 7 pm today.

In line with the Supreme Court order, the Court opined that the power to decide whether the broadcast was permissible lied with the competent authority under the Central Government.

It, accordingly, directed Sudarshan TV to reply to the Central Government's notice by September 1 and granted 48 hours to the authority to decide the issue after giving an opportunity to Sudarshan TV and its Editor-in-Chief, Suresh Chavhanke to present their case.

However, opining that prima facie, the broadcast was in violation of the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, the Court refused to vacate the stay and directed Sudarshan TV to not air the broadcast till then.

Prima facie, I find the same to be in violation of the Programme Code set out under the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 (hereinafter referred to as the ‘Act’)..Till such decision by the Central Government, the respondent nos.3 and 4 shall not telecast/transmit the programme 'Bindas Bol' that was scheduled to be transmitted/telecasted on 28.08.2020 at 8.00 p.m
Delhi High Court

While giving liberty to the parties to take appropriate legal action after the Central Government's decision, the Court disposed of the petition before it.

Sudarshan TV proposed to run a broadcast which claimed to be a “Big Exposé on Conspiracy to infiltrate Muslims in Government Service".

After former and present students of Jamia Milia Islamia University moved the High Court seeking a prohibition on airing of the broadcast, the High Court had issued an order of stay.

In their petition filed through Advocate Shadan Farasat, the petitioners had argued that the proposed broadcast sought to defame, attack and incite hatred against Jamia Milia Islamia, its alumni, and the Muslim community at large.

It was 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.

In response to the petition, the Central Government had informed that the Court that the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting had already issued notice to Sudarshan TV with respect to the proposed broadcast.

Read the Order:

Syed Mujtaba Athar vs UOI.pdf
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