In a special hearing held at 7pm on Saturday, 29 August, the Delhi High Court disposed of the petition against a controversial show that was to be aired Noida-based channel Sudarshan News TV.
In a trailer for the show, shared by editor of the news channel, Suresh Chavhank claimed to expose an alleged conspiracy behind how Muslims have 'infiltrated' the civil services.
The HC had earlier stayed the airing of the programme which was supposed to happen on Friday, 28 August.
A single bench of Justice Navin Chawla gave the TV channel time till 1 September to file its response to the notice issued by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on the complaints received on the show.
The court also asked the ministry to decide on the notice within 48 hours of receiving a response from the channel. The stay on the airing of the programme will continue till the Centre comes to a decision, the court added.
After viewing the trailer clip of the show in question, the court also said that it is in violation of the programme code.
The bench observed: “Prima facie, I find the same to be in violation of the Programme Code set out under the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995.”
Based on the trailer that was shared by Chavhanke, a group of former and present students of Jamia Milia Islamia approached court seeking a stay on the telecast of the programme on the ground that it violated the Cable TV Act.
A similar petition was also filed in the Supreme Court by another petitioner. That petition was considered by a bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and K M Joseph almost at the same time when the other petition was being considered by the Delhi HC.
The SC said that the case "raises significant issues bearing on the protection of constitutional rights", but declined to issue a "pre-broadcast injunction" against the telecast of the show.
The court, however, said that it is willing consider the larger issues pertaining to free speech and said that it might appoint an amicus curiae for assistance on the next date of hearing, which is on 15 September.
(With inputs from LiveLaw)
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