Supreme Court on Friday has refused to put a ban on the pre-broadcast of Sudarshan TV’s programme ‘Bindas Bol’. The latest promo of the programme claimed that the channel is going to broadcast a ‘big expose on conspiracy to infiltrate Muslims in government service’.
Supreme Court bench comprising of Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice K M Joseph stated that the court has to first circumspect in imposing a prior restraint on publication or the airing of views.
“At this stage, we have desisted from imposing a pre-broadcast interlocutory injunction on the basis of an unverified transcript of a forty-nine seconds clip. The Court has to be circumspect in imposing a prior restraint on publication or the airing of views. We note that under statutory provisions, competent authorities are vested with powers to ensure compliance with law, including provisions of the criminal law intended to ensure social harmony and the peaceful coexistence of all communities,” stated the bench.
Following a plea filed by Firoz Iqbal Khan against the broadcast of a programme scheduled to be aired on Friday, the court has issued a notice to the Centre, Press Council of India, News Broadcasters Association and Sudarshan.
“Having regard to the importance of the issues which arise from the petition under Article 32, we direct that notice be issued to the respondents, returnable on September 15, 2020. On the next date of listing, the court will consider appointing amicus curiae to assist it towards a resolution which advances the protection of constitutional rights,” said the bench.
SC bench also noted that prima facie, the petition raises the serious concerns over the protection of constitutional rights.
“Consistent with the fundamental right to free speech and expression, the Court will need to foster a considered a debate on the setting up of standards of self-regulation,” said the court.
The court further added, “Together with free speech, there are other constitutional values which need to be balanced and preserved including the fundamental right to equality and fair treatment for every segment of citizens.”
The contention of the petitioner was that the forty-nine seconds clip of the promo of the programme contains derogatory statements against the entry of Muslims in civil services.