In relation to a matter relating to the telecast of the programme based on the theme of ‘UPSC Jihad’ on Sudarshan TV, a three-judge Bench of the Supreme Court comprising of Justices D Y Chandrachud, Indu Malhotra and KM Joseph has passed an order restraining the telecast of the programme.
Four episodes of the programme have already been aired after the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting gave its nod subject to the condition that the programme did not violate the programme code of conduct. The court had earlier refused to pass an order imposing a pre-broadcast ban and had issued notice to the Centre, the Press Council of India and the News Broadcasters Association.
Responding to Justice Chadrachud’s query regarding the import of the show, Advocate Shyam Divan, who was appearing on behalf of the Sudarshan TV, told the court that the show was an investigative story and that the channel believed that the issue is related to national security as there was enormous funding flowing in from the overseas from sources which are inimical to India.
Prima facie, it appears to vilify the Muslim community, says SC
Advocate Divan also pointed out that the channel had reached out to the parties under the investigation but no response was received by the channel. He also requested the court to allow the telecast of the show and not pass a restraint order until he presents an affidavit as well as all the related material before the court tomorrow. “A journalist thinks he has discovered something. He may be wright or wrong. He thinks he is doing his duty by unraveling the foreign funding. If he is incorrect, he will have to face the consequences. There is a whole regime, whole scheme under the Act to deal with that” he said.
One of the petitioners opposing the telecast of the show declared the content of the show ‘hate speech’ and accused the channel of inciting violence. Justice Chandrachud remarked that the Supreme Court could not allow the channel to say that the Muslims of the country are infiltrating the Civil Services. The court in its order observed that prima facie, it appeared that the object, intent and purpose of the programme was to vilify the Muslim community with an insidious attempt to portray them as part of a conspiracy to infiltrate the civil services. The next hearing of the matter has been scheduled on September 17.