The Delhi High Court on Friday refused to stay, at this stage, the telecast of Sudarshan TV’s programme “Bindass Bol” on Muslims clearing the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) examination.
A single-judge bench of Justice Navin Chawla issued notice to the Centre and Sudarshan News over a petition, filed through advocate Shadan Farasat, challenging the Central government’s decision to allow Sudarshan TV’s broadcast on Muslim “infiltration” in government services.
Petitioner Syed Mujtaba Athar and some others stated, in their petition, that the order by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry is a “non-speaking order”.
The plea further states that despite the mandate of law under Sections 5, 19 and 20 of the Cable TV Act and the direction of the court in its order dated August 29, the impugned order fails to make any assessment regarding violation of the Programme Code or Sections 19 or 20 of the Cable TV Act, either with respect to the proposed show or its promo.
“The assessment has simply been abandoned on a statement of Respondents No 2 (Sudarshan News) and 3 (Editor-in-Chief Suresh Chavhanke) that there is no violation of the Programme Code. There is no independent application of mind to the facts and circumstances of the case,” the plea said.
“Respondent No 1 (Centre) did not even deem it fit to initiate the exercise of assessing the contents of the proposed show… it, even cursorily, did not apply its mind to the facts of the case,” the petitioners said, adding that there is no application of mind as to why the promo of the proposed show does not indicate that the proposed show will be in violation of the Programme Code and Section 19 of the Cable TV Act.
“In sum and substance, the impugned order is a cryptic and non-speaking order and ought to be set aside, with a direction to Respondent No 1 to re-assess whether the proposed show and its promo violates the Programme Code and Section 19 of the Cable TV Act. Furthermore, till such time this reassessment is completed, the broadcast of the proposed show ought to be stayed,” the plea read.
The programme is part of the “Bindas Bol” series, hosted by Chavhanke. In an order issued Thursday, the Information & Broadcasting Ministry said it cannot pre-censor a programme, or stop it from being telecast.
“If only, when the programme is telecast and any violation of law is found, action can be taken,” the order states.