Delhi HC declines to stay 8 pm telecast of Sudarshan TV programme claiming 'infiltration of Muslims' in UPSC

The court, however, has issued a notice to Centre and Sudarshan News, on a petition filed by Jamia students and alumni challenging the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting's nod to the channel to air the show

Press Trust of India September 11, 2020 19:00:16 IST
Delhi HC declines to stay 8 pm telecast of Sudarshan TV programme claiming 'infiltration of Muslims' in UPSC

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court Friday declined to stay the evening telecast of Sudarshan TV's Bindas Bol programme, whose promo claimed that the channel was all set to broadcast a 'big expose on conspiracy to infiltrate Muslims in government service'.

The show is scheduled to be telecast at 8 pm today.

Justice Navin Chawla also issued notice and sought reply of the Centre and Sudarshan News and its editor-in-chief Suresh Chavhanke on a petition filed by former and present students of Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) University challenging the nod given by Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to the channel's broadcast.

The high court granted time to the ministry, represented through Central Government standing counsel Anurag Ahluwalia, to file an affidavit in response to the plea which has sought to set aside the government's 9 September order and to reassess the legality of the channel's show.

It fixed the next date of hearing on 18 November.

Advocate Bijender Singh, who was representing the TV channel, said "there is no stay on the telecast of the programme. The court declined it."

The petition by Syed Mujtaba Athar and Ritesh Siraj sought urgent hearing seeking a direction prohibiting the broadcast of the show titled Bindas Bol, which is scheduled to be telecast at 8 pm tonight on Sudarshan TV till the time government decides on the legality of the show.

The plea claimed that the proposed show is full of hate speech and defamation against the petitioners and if the current petition is not adjudicated prior to its broadcast, irreparable harm will be caused to them and the plea will also become infructuous.

The plea said the ministry has refrained from exercising its powers under the Cable TV Act to prohibit the proposed show.

The plea claimed that the ministry passed a non-speaking order, which is quoted as, “Having regard to the aforementioned facts and circumstances of the case, Sudarshan TV channel is hereby directed to ensure that the programme proposed to be telecast does not violate any of the programme codes. If any violation of the programme code is found, action as per law will be taken.”

The petition also sought direction to the channel and its editor to not broadcast their show Bindas Bol on the topic of entry of Muslims and Jamia alumni into civil services and its promo till the ministry reassess and decides if the broadcast of the show needs to be prohibited under the cable TV Act and other laws.

The high court on 28 August had stayed the telecast of the programme which was scheduled the same evening. On 29 August, the high court disposed of the plea with a direction to the ministry to take a decision on the prohibition of the proposed show pursuant to its 28 August show-cause notice.

The high court had also directed the channel and its editor to not broadcast the proposed show till such time the ministry takes the decision.

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