On Wednesday, author and activist Madhu Kishwar informed on Twitter that she had filed an intervention petition in the Supreme Court in Sudarshan TV ‘UPSC Jihad’ case.
She claimed that her comments, during the show, were ‘mischievously’ presented as evidence of hate speech. Madhu Kishwar tweeted, “I’ve filed an Intervention petition in SC in Sudarshan TV case since a shoddy translation of small snippets of my comments on ‘UPSC Jihad’ during Sudarshan TV debate have been mischievously presented in SC as evidence of hate speech.”
I’ve filed Intervention petition in SC in @SudarshanNewsTV case since a shoddy translation of small snippets of my comments on #UPSCJihad during sudershan tv debate hv been mischeviously presented in SC as evidence of #HateSpeech @timesofindia @IndianExpress @PTI_News @the_hindu— MadhuPurnima Kishwar (@madhukishwar) September 22, 2020
In her intervention plea, the author argued that her comments with respect to ‘Ghazwa-e-Hind’ and ‘Mughalistan’ were ‘clumsily translated’ and deemed by the petitioner as ‘hate speech.’
Madhu Kishwar accuses petitioner for bypassing available remedies
“That the petitioner has further chosen this petition to ensure that the government which is the final authority to determine free-speech policy and also which is also more equipped to carry out a detailed investigation is bypassed and not given a chance to make a decision,” the intervention application read, as reported by Live Law.
She added that bypassing of the constitutional framework by the petitioner infringed upon her rights. Seeking permission to intervene in the apex Court, Madhu Kishwar urged the Court that she should not be coerced into compromising her fundamental rights.
Slamming the petitioner for bypassing other statutory remedies in a bid to attain ‘extraordinary relief’, she argued, “By choosing to do so, the Petitioners have severely undermined not only the rights of free speech and expression but also the right to free and fair trial, which is the applicant’s right under the Constitution to protect her life and liberty and also her Freedom to research, inquire, speech and expression.”
In her intervention application, Madhu Kishwar argued that several adherents of the Islamic Faith had also filled intervention pleas in support of the Sudarshan News show on UPSC Jihad. She stated that the petitioners, who claimed to be representatives of the entire Muslim community, have not followed the rigors under Order 1 and Rule 8 of the CPC (Code of Civil Procedure).
OpIndia and others move the apex Court
Earlier, OpIndia, Indic Collective, and UpWord had filed an intervention application in the Sudarshan News ‘UPSC Jihad’ case. A report titled “A Study on Contemporary Standards in Religious Reporting by Mass Media”, prepared by OpIndia was submitted in the Court.
J Sai Deepak, representing the petitioners, said that there were three issues that had been submitted. First, whether the Supreme Court had jurisdiction over the matter. The plea contended whether any statute or the Constitution itself permits courts to step into the shoes of the state to restrain the broadcast of such content. Second, the definition of hate speech. And third, the OpIndia report which tracked the contemporary landscape on the standards set by mass media in religious reporting.
The Sudarshan TV case
Hindi news channel Sudarshan News triggered an outrage after it aired a promo for a program which was to be broadcast on 28 August. Sudarshan News chief editor Suresh Chavhanke had informed that the channel is analysing the sudden increase in the number of Muslims selected in various posts in administrative and police services in the country, along with an increase in marks obtained by Muslim candidates as compared with others. However, this triggered Muslim activists and cases were filed to halt the broadcast.
Chavanke’s show had alleged that Zakat Foundation, which helps Muslim students secure UPSC ranks, has been receiving funding from anti-India organisations abroad.
After Delhi High Court stayed the airing of the show, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting gave a nod to broadcast the same. However, Supreme Court later passed an order restraining the telecast of the program.