A controversial TV show scheduled to air on Sudarshan News TV about Muslims entering civil services is aimed at humiliating the Muslim community, the Supreme Court noted on Tuesday as it banned the channel from continuing to broadcast the remaining six episodes of program “Bindas Bol”.
The court will hear the case on Thursday as well. The channel had previously aired four episodes.
The Supreme Court took a strong exception to the content of the show, noting that the allegations made by the channel seemed “insidious”, painted an entire community with the same brush, and cast aspirations on the credibility of the exam conducted by the Public Union Commission. of Service.
“Prima facie, it seems to the Court that the purpose, object and purpose of the episodes that have been broadcast on television is to insult the Muslim community. An insidious attempt has been made to suggest that the community is involved in a conspiracy to infiltrate civil services. The meaning, the noise and the content of the episodes is to bring the community into hatred and contempt of the public… Any attempt to humiliate a community should be viewed with disfavor by this court as a guardian of Constitutional values ”, the bench composed of judges DY Chandrachud, Indu Thane Malhotra and KM Joseph.
At an earlier hearing, the court had refused to impose a pre-broadcast ban on the controversial program citing freedom of speech and expression.
On Tuesday, judges said there was a change in circumstances due to the tone, the noise of the program that came out after 4 episodes aired on TV from September 11th to 14th.
“We are of the opinion that there has been a change of circumstances at least prima facie based on the minutes that have been brought before this court. We order and direct that pending further orders of this court, Sudarshan News will remain harmed by the transmission of any subsequent transmission or similar to the transmission that took place on 11, 12, 13 and 14 September or under the same or any other title or inscription “, ordered the table.
Senior adviser Shyam Divan, who appeared before Sudarshan News, told the judges that such an order would constitute a preliminary restriction on news coverage and would violate free speech.
“I reserve the right to criticize the order fairly after hearing the case. So far, I think the entire 4-episode TV broadcast should have been referenced by researchers / intruders. Their arguments were contrary to the facts and data. My client has never said anything about the Muslim community. We are concerned about the issue of national security, “lawyer Vishnu Jain, who represented Sudarshan News, told HT.
The court was hearing a request from lawyer Firoz Iqbal Khan who submitted that the program contained statements that were derogatory to the entry of Muslims into civil services. In the trailer of the program, which was widely circulated on social media platforms, Sudarshan speaker and news editor Suresh Chavhanke was seen asking what he called a sudden increase in the number of Muslims who passed the IAS exams. and IPS.
Chavhanke had asked what the consequences would be if the “Jihadists from Jamia (university)” had positions of authority and power like that of the Collector and the Secretary.
Khan filed that the expression of views was derogatory to a particular community, has a divisive potential, and was in violation of the program code listed in the Cable Television Networks Act (Regulation) of 1995.
At the same time, another request for the same case was heard by the Delhi High Court, which on August 28, stayed on the television broadcast and asked the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to receive a call on the matter. The ministry cleared the program on September 10 while running the channel to ensure the show did not violate any program code. Measures would be taken under the law if any violations were found, he said.
Subsequently, a new request was filed before the high court which issued a guilty plea notice on September 11 but rejected the stay. Sudarshan News had subsequently continued with the television broadcast of four episodes of the show
Senior counsel Anoop Choudhari and lawyer Shadan Farasat appearing on behalf of the plaintiffs and interveners appeared before the Supreme Court on Tuesday that the television broadcast violates the program code and constitutes hate speech.
Farasat noted that the program made false statements about the relaxation given to Muslim candidates in relation to the upper age limit and the number of attempts available to take the exam.
Stoli was critical of the episodes broadcast by the channel, stating that the insinuations made in the program did not fit the democratic traditions of the country and that some statements which were brought to the court’s attention are “wrongly wrong”.
“You are doing great damage to the nation. What has happened does not merit our democratic system. “We are a vase of merging cultures, civilizations, religions and languages,” said Justice DY Chandrachud.
Justice Chandrachud also stated that every single person applying for UPSC goes through the same selection process and the insinuation that a community is trying to infiltrate civil services does harm to the nation.
“In the UPSC exam, everyone undergoes the same tests, interviews and are evaluated by the same people. But the idea is that a community is trying to infiltrate the UPSC. What you are doing does not do merit to our democratic system. Your client is doing great harm to the nation. “We are a vase of melting cultures,” Chandrachud told Divan.
Divan submitted that the program raises an issue related to national security and it is in the public interest to tell the story.
“The program is in line with the program code,” Divan affirmed while also underlining that the issue involves foreign funding from sources which are not of interest to India’s interests.
Justice KM Joseph, who was also on the bench, said the freedom given to the media is not absolute and the way in which some TV channels conduct news debates today leaves much to be desired.
He asked attorney general Tushar Mehta, appearing for the central government, to consider options for disclosing the stock model and revenue model of media houses in the public domain.
“Some channels silence the panelists when they express views that contradict the views of the anchor. This is unfair. “No freedom is absolute, not even journalistic freedom,” said Justice Joseph.
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