Delhi HC refuses to vacate stay on Sudarshan TV programme on Muslim ‘infiltration in government services’
The court has issued notices seeking replies from the Centre, the channel and its chief editor Suresh Chavhanke. The plea will be heard on 7 September
New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Saturday refused to vacate its stay on the telecast of a programme on Sudarshan TV about a "big expose on conspiracy to infiltrate Muslims in government service".
In an interim order on Friday, the high court had restrained the channel from airing the programme 'Bindas Bol' which was scheduled for telecast at 8 pm last evening.
A special hearing was held on Saturday post 7 pm by Justice Navin Chawla on a plea filed by Sudarshan TV and its editor-in-chief seeking to vacate the stay order on telecast of the programme, a lawyer said.
The channel submitted that the Supreme Court, on another petition, on Friday has refused to restrain pre-broadcast ban on Sudarshan TV from telecasting the programme.
An advocate associated with the case said the judge asked the channel to first respond to the notice issued to it by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, which has sought a clarification after receiving several complaints.
The court asked the channel to submit by 1 September, its reply to the ministry, represented through central government standing counsel Anurag Ahluwalia, which will decide it within 48 hours and place the decision before it.
The advocate said the court was also of the opinion that while in the matter before the Supreme Court the transcript was unverified, here the video clipping has not been disputed by the channel.
In the high court, the main petition was filed by former and present students of Jamia Millia Islamia University, contending that the proposed broadcast sought to defame, attack and incite hatred against JMI, its alumni, and the Muslim community at large.
The high court had issued notices seeking replies from the central government, Sudarshan TV, and its Editor-in-Chief Suresh Chavhanke on the petition, which has been listed for further hearing on 7 September.
The petitioners' counsel had shown a video clip of the trailer that was released by the TV channel for 'Bindas Bol' and said it shows the programme could be in complete violation of the programme code.
He had said an irretrievable damage would be caused to the petitioners if the programme is allowed to be telecast.
In the apex court, the petition was filed by advocate Firoz Iqbal Khan. The top court had said it has to first circumspect in imposing a prior restraint on publication or the airing of views.
In the high court, the petition by Syed Mujtaba Athar, Ritesh Siraj and Aamir Subhani sought a direction to prohibit the telecast of the programme and to take down the trailers and all videos of the broadcast which are uploaded on the Internet by them.
It said the trailer was uploaded by the channel's editor-in-chief on 25 August on social media and the petitioners came to know about it on August 27 when it went viral.
"The respondent no. 4 (Chavhanke) has openly incited his target non-Muslim audience by fearmongering that 'jihadis' or terrorists from Jamia Millia Islamia would soon hold positions of authority and power like that of collector and secretary," it said.
The plea said if the proposed broadcast is allowed to go ahead, it would present a clear danger to the security of the petitioners as well as that of other students and alumni of Jamia Millia Islamia including those who cleared the Civil Services Exam in 2020 as well as the Muslim community at large.
It claimed that this would leave them open to the imminent threat of violence, including the possibility of lynching.
"This would amount to an extremely egregious violation of the right to life and personal liberty guaranteed to the petitioners under Article 21 of the Constitution," the plea said.
It said a prima facie case is made out that the proposed broadcast amounts to hate speech and criminal defamation and fatally compromises the right to life and liberty of the petitioners.
The petition claims that the appointment of the panel was made in violation of Article 77, which states that every executive action or order of the Central government has to be taken or issued in the name of the President, and hence unconstitutional and illegal
Chawla had moved the application seeking that her lawsuit against 5G rollout be declared “rejected” instead of “dismissed”.