The Supreme Court of India today heard the petition filed by Sudarshan TV contesting the apex court’s decision against the telecast of channel’s ‘UPSC Jihad’ show.
Speaking on the Sudarshan TV’s plea challenging the court order that stalled the further broadcast of the remaining episodes in the ‘UPSC Jihad’ show, Justice Chandrachud remarked on the pictorial representation of ‘Muslims’ of the show, stating that the show depicted a graphical illustration of a ‘Muslim’ with a beard, skull cap and green face, with flames burning in the background, as per Live Law.
Justice Chandrachud: A pictorial representation of a Muslim is being shown with a beard, skull cap and green face, with flames in the background.#SudarshanNews #BindasBol #UPSCJihad @SureshChavhanke @SudarshanNewsTV— Live Law (@LiveLawIndia) September 18, 2020
In response to senior advocate Shyam Divan’s defence that his client, Suresh Chavhanke of Sudarshan TV was presenting the issue of suspicious foreign funding to the Zakat Foundation that funds coaching of the Civil Services aspirants, Justice Chandrachud claimed that the allegations levelled by Suresh Chavhanke on his show were made and represented in an inciteful manner.
‘Every time you represent a Muslim, you put him in a green t-shirt’: Justice Chandrachud
Earlier today, senior advocate Shyam Divan, representing Sudarshan TV in the court, cited the affidavit by Editor-in-chief Suresh Chavhanke to demonstrate that the channel’s show ‘UPSC Jihad’, whose broadcast had been temporarily halted by the top court, has grave implications on public interest and national security of the country.
The channel had urged the court to pass the judgment after all the episodes are aired on television. 4 episodes have been already broadcasted in the serialised show after which the Supreme Court placed a ban on its telecast. Divan contended that the ban on the airing of the show would infringe upon the rights and freedom of Editor-in-Chief Suresh Chavhanke.
Justice Chandrachud also referred to the live chat between Suresh Chavhanke and others. He asked advocate Divan to note the tenor of the chat wherein Mr Chavhanke allegedly says, “Chor ki dadhi mein tinka. Yahaan pe chor bhi hain, dadhi bhi hain”.
During the hearing, Justice Indu Malhotra also remarked that the flame and the green t-shirt with a tag of Rs 500 crores, skull cap etc should be taken off the programme.
Justice Chandrachud further stated that the court understands the need for free speech but a message has to go to media that a particular community cannot be targeted like that. “We have to look after a nation of the future which is cohesive and diverse. We recognize national security but we need to respect individual respect too”.
Suresh Chavhanke has right and freedom to carry out investigative journalism and make inferences from his findings: Senior Advocate Shyam Divan
Arguing that the court’s intervention in the broadcast of the show might be an imbalance on the rights and freedom of the editor-in-chief of the channel, Suresh Chavhanke, advocate Divan said that his client believes that he has done an investigative story, backed by solid facts and therefore, should be allowed to air his inferences based on his findings.
Advocate Divan referred to the affidavit and raised questions over the funding secured by the Zakat Foundation to financially support students applying for the Civil Services examinations. Divan listed the groups (allegedly pro-Pak groups) which formed the source of exorbitant funding for the Foundation.
“Channel endeavoured to expose anti-national activities & how some persons are being recruited in All India Civil Service under design to induct persons with the financial support of international fundamentalists to achieve their oblique motives in India,” Advocate Diwan argued.
“We, as a citizen in a democracy, have a right to be informed. On that basis, the programme should be allowed to air till the last episode. There will be no breach of the Programme Code. And if there is, that can be rectified,” Diwan said.
Diwan requested that the court should allow the airing of the remaining episodes of the programme.