SC Adjourns ‘UPSC Jihad’ Case for 2 Weeks After I&B Order Provided
I&B Ministry has held that previous episodes of the show breached Programme Code, but has only cautioned the channel
The Supreme Court on Thursday, 19 November, adjourned the Sudarshan News ‘UPSC Jihad’ case by two weeks, so that all parties can respond to the affidavit finally submitted by the Centre with its order regarding the controversial show.
The the I&B Ministry order submitted to the court says, in relation to the episodes of the show that have been broadcast till now, that: “The Ministry finds that they are not in good taste, offensive and has a likelihood of promoting communal attitudes”.
However, while the ministry has found that the "tone and tenor" episodes, as they were broadcast, indicated that the channel had "breached the Programme Code", no action has been ordered against the channel at this time.
This comes even though the I&B Ministry had specifically directed the channel to ensure that the show would not do so before the first episodes aired.
Instead, the Ministry's order says that it,
“after examining all facts and circumstances of the case and balancing the fundamental rights of the broadcaster, hereby “CAUTIONS” Sudarshan TV Channel Ltd. to be careful in future. It is further directed that if any violation of the Programme Code is found in future, stricter penal action would be taken.”
In addition to this, the ministry has directed the channel to review the content of the future episodes of the Bindas Bol series on 'UPSC Jihad', and this is to be "suitably moderated and modified" to ensure no violations of the Programme Code, including
- offending against good taste and decency
- attacking a religion or community with content which promotes communal attitudes
- containing defamatory, falsehoods, suggestive innuendos
- inciting violence or promotes anti-national attitudes
- maligning or slandering a group
- slandering a religious group
At the last hearing of the matter on 26 October, the Centre had said it would submit the order the very next day – however, the order was only submitted 20 days later. The ministry has not recommended any action at this time against the channel even though its finding that the Programme Code was breached comes after it had directed the channel to ensure compliance with the code before the first episode was aired.
The I&B Ministry’s order notes that it is subject to the ongoing Supreme Court case. The apex court had stayed the broadcast of further episodes of the show on 15 September – that stay continues to be in force.
The bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra requested advocate Shadan Farasat, representing one of the sets of intervenors in the case, to put together electronic compilations of all the documents.
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