The Central government today informed the Supreme Court that an Inter Magisterial Committee had made certain additional recommendations and a fresh notice based on those recommendations has been sent to Sudarshan News in the matter of their ‘Bindas Bol’ show that was airing an investigative program called ‘UPSC Jihad’.
Yesterday, a letter was circulated by the Central government seeking an adjournment in the case. The letter circulated states that, as the Bench had been informed, the Union of India, in exercise of its power conferred upon the Central Government under Section 20(3) of the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995, had already issued a notice to Show Cause on 23.09.2020 to Sudarshan News, and the same was returnable on 28.09.2020.
In pursuance of the Notice, a Reply was received from Sudarshan News and the same was forwarded to the Inter-Ministerial Committee for its views and recommendations. The IMC then conducted its proceedings wherein Sudarshan News was given full opportunity to represent their case by bling written submissions as well as by making oral arguments.
Post the proceeding, the IMC gave some additional recommendations to the Central Government on 04.10.2020 in respect of some programs which are yet to be telecasted by Sudarshan TV News channel. The letter states that the “Competent Authority of the Central Government, is therefore, duty bound to give one more opportunity to Sudarshan TV News Channel, to make its representation on the recommendation given by the Inter-Ministerial Committee in general and in particular with respect to the additional recommendation made by the Inter- Ministerial Committee in respect of the future program”. In this light, an adjournment was sought by the central government.
The letter contended that only after giving Sudarshan News another hearing, would the central government be in the position to pass an order and in the light of that, an adjournment was sought.
During the hearing, the contention was accepted by the bench comprising of Justices DY Chandrachud, Indu Malhotra and Indira Banerjee. The hearing of Sudarshan News in front of the central government is scheduled for tomorrow, the 6th of October 2020.
One petitioner said during the course of the hearing that the court needs to decide on the larger matter and decide on what is hate speech and what is offensive, irrespective of the decision taken by the Central Government.
Thereafter, the Solicitor General, who is also assisting the court in this case other than representing the central government said, “May I make one request ? Let the matter remain between the Court, Petitioner and Respondent. Everyone is intervening and broadening the scope”. However, after Advocate Shahrukh Alam intervened and requested the court to stick to the order passed on 23rd September, Justice Chandrachud assured her that the court will conduct a full hearing.
During the hearing, a lawyer sought to appear on behalf of Sanjeev Newar and file an intervention in the case since he was a panelist on a show on UPSC-Jihad and his comments were mentioned during a previous hearing. However, Justice Chandrachud did not take kindly to the request and said that since he keeps appearing on television shows, he cannot complain. Further, Justice Chandrachud also said that the intervener will probably go back to the same channel in the future.
Justice Chandrachud said that next week will possibly be a miscellaneous week, so we won’t be able to take it. “We will take it after Dusshera vacation”, he said setting the next date of the hearing for the 26th of October.