The Supreme Court in New Delhi| Photo: Manisha Mondal | ThePrint
The Supreme Court in New Delhi | Manisha Mondal | ThePrint
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New Delhi: The Supreme Court Monday sought to know from those opposing the telecast of Sudarshan News’ controversial program ‘Bindas Bol‘ whether a blanket injunction could be issued against the remaining episodes of the show that claims to expose “infiltration of Muslims” in the civil services.

A three-judge bench, led by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, posed the query to advocate Shadan Farasat when he argued in favour of a permanent injunction against the show.

Appearing for three students of Jamia Millia Islamia, Farasat said ‘Bindas Bol‘ insinuated that the participation and success of Muslims in the civil services and the society in general was a terror operation to take over the bureaucracy.

The bench, however, told Farasat that he needs to first establish that the programme contained hate speech directed at a particular community.

“There could be an element of public interest in the show — should Muslims be classified as OBCs (other backward classes) for the benefit of reservation. He (editor) may be right or wrong but then he is entitled to express his views on the issues. How to portray speech is the question here.

“The fact that you paint the entire community with the same brush is a problem. But then can we issue a blanket injunction? If it is done, then aren’t we restraining a person from expressing views protected as free speech under the Constitution?” the court noted.

Four episodes of the Bindas Bol series had already been aired before the apex court, on 15 September, blocked its telecast. There are 10 episodes left to be aired in the series.

The central government has, meanwhile, filed a fresh affidavit before the top court, asserting that any endeavour to regulate television channels or series has to begin with the role of “uncontrolled” digital media.

Zakat Foundation of India (ZFI), which is at the centre of controversy in the case, has sought to intervene in this petition by stating that the channel has been “cherry-picking facts from publicly accessible documents on the internet and drawing unsustainable inference therefrom”.


Also read: Muslims holding Quran and computer can crack UPSC. But for some, they are still jihadis


‘Remaining episodes to also show there is UPSC jihad’

Editor-in-Chief of Sudarshan News Suresh Chavhanke refuted allegations that Bindas Bol defied any Programme Code.

His lawyer, Vishnu Jain, told the bench that the four episodes already aired were in compliance of the Code. To the court’s query on whether the remaining episodes will be on the same subject as the earlier episodes, Jain said yes.

“The rest of the episodes will be broadcast on the same lines that there is ‘UPSC jihad’, there is presence of foreign funding, a tendency to capture the bureaucracy,” Jain added.

He also suggested the court have a look at all the four episodes and offered to give an explanation for every objection raised, a proposition the court said was not possible.

The judges also took exception to television programmes cited by Sudarshan News on “Hindu terror” and “saffron terror” to demonstrate how these went unnoticed by the top court and other authorities.

While Jain offered an explanation to these references, the court said, “We ask you questions during a hearing to elicit reasons and response from lawyers, in order to enable parties to come out with perspective and chisel our understanding. You do not have the liberty to look for answers to every question posed during a hearing. Then we will stop asking questions.”


Also read: Supreme Court giving Sudarshan News case a constitutional colour is curious


‘Court cannot become an enforcer of Programme Code’

The bench also made it clear to Farasat that the court’s intervention is not required if the show makes an attack on ZFI.

“This kind of an attack can be bad in taste. Someone might just say do not watch the television and read some books. However, if it becomes hate speech then we need to be careful,” it added.

The apex court, the judges added, cannot become an “enforcer of the Programme Code”.

ZFI will have a remedy under the civil law to claim an injunction because an “identifiable identity is being defamed”, said the court. But where a wide amorphous group of persons are defamed, only the courts can wield its constitutional power to impose a pre-broadcast censor, it added.

‘Regulate web-based digital media’

In its fresh affidavit, the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has stated that any further regulation on print or electronic media will prompt them to put out their content through digital media.

The affidavit also notes how digital platforms remain unregulated, despite having a wider reach.

The central government has specifically sought to regulate “web-based digital media”,  including “web magazines”, “web-based news channels” and “web-based newspapers” which are “uncontrolled”. According to the government digital media uses spectrum and internet which is “public property”.

“No registration is necessary as of now nor any statutory provisions govern their functioning … except some provisions of Information and Technology Act,” it noted.

But the same was not in the case of electronic and print media because the “security of the nation is also taken care of at the time of registration and/or grant of license”.


Also read: Former IAS, IFS officers move SC in Sudarshan News case, seek ruling on scope of ‘hate speech’


 

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13 Comments Share Your Views

13 COMMENTS

  1. One cannot arbitrarily impose rules and restrictions including the honourable Supreme Court. The point raised by Sudarsadhan TV about “Hindu Terror”/”Saffron Terror” is a valid one. Either Supreme Court should use this opportunity to objectively delineate what constitutes “hate speech” or should just shut up.
    I may not agree with their presentation style, but that does not necessarily imply their thesis is wrong. Sudarshan TV should be given a chance to back up their story with hard statistical numbers, if they have them. In general, its a much better idea to impose penalty on the news channels if they cannot substantiate a news item, rather than trying to go around looking whose sentiment got hurt!!

  2. Criticism of RSS, BJP, Hindutva is not hate speech. Criticism of congress, moghuls jihad is hate speech. Did any of our media take up the cause of displaced kashmiri pundits?

  3. The congressi media, including print, criticizes RSS, BJP Hindutva. Does it not amount to hate speech against Hindus? Did you ever take up the cause do kashmiri pundits? Open your eyes and remember why Sikhism was born in Punjab.

  4. Investigation by CBI on higher average marks in interview for muslims, NIA on why urdu is chosen language by Muslim applicants and links of examiners, ED for funding source of Zakat and it’s spending and Personel department to scrutinize decisions taken by such bureaucrats.

  5. Instead of commenting on FORM , those who have objection must counter based on SUBSTANCE of the program.
    If you have facts , rebut each claim of Program by counter facts……

  6. What the hell has happened to nations judiciary.. some news channel(sudarshan) runs a Show for gaining TRP on name of UPSC defaming it as “UPSC JIHAD” . I would like to ask Supreme Court of India is India really a secular state now ??? The most prestigious exam UPSC-CSE is questioned on basis of religion naming it as Jihad. Can’t judges see that how that reporter or the host was targeting a community and questioning why muslims are increasing in UPSC , has supreme court not been able to see this??? Respected SC of India we are a part of secular nation and we believe in social+ communal unity .so many people are trying to disturb it and it’s clearly in front of you..so judges please be ethical to the institution. People in nation has begun to say that “kanun bik gaya hai BJP ke hatho” ..don’t let this happen more.

  7. Creativity is the base of Indian culture,In every era India is glorified through great personalities in various field above cast and creed, the art sculpture of North and south india are examples of Indian creativity but after Britishers left india with division of religion today we are using same formula in politics

  8. For a documentary which would have readily attracted Section 153 (a) of IPC in an alternative world, the Supreme Court of India this great democracy is posing a question “if stop airing the show not amount to scuttling freedom of speech”… GREAT MY LORD

  9. Freedom of speech does not mean you can say anything period. If movies have a censorship then Broadcasters all have to have a code. Supreme court cannot shy away from responsibility.

  10. Punishing a murderer is not wrong
    Protecting a poor by punishing a murderer won’t harm one.
    If SC doesn’t stop this, then other side can produce similar content.
    So judges should call a bull a bull and stop this nonsense

  11. Already religious book in one hand and constitution in another hand is being taken a new heights by journalist indulging in fake propaganda.

    Please ask what would they would implement if in majority ..

    The constitution is a stop gap arrangement.

    • The honourable judges say that “the fact that you paint the entire community with the same brush is a problem”. But then ask if we can classify it as hate speech. I thought classifying the whole community with the same brush and blaming the whole community to be terrorists over superfluous accusations was already defined as hate speech.

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