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Sudarshan TV asks SC to livestream hearing on banned 'UPSC Jihad' programmes

Last Updated : 18 September 2020, 06:24 IST

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Sudarshan news channel has asked the Supreme Court to allow live streaming of its proceedings related to restraint order issued to it from running its programme on alleged "infiltration" of Muslims into UPSC.

In an application, the channel said, "Lakhs and crores of viewers want to know about the legal proceedings conducted before this court and they want to hear the points of arguments being raised by the parties."

The news channel, through its advocate Vishnu Shankar Jain, claimed that it is very popular in the public. One of the most important shows which is being broadcast is “Bindas Bol” at 8 pm. It had prepared ten episodes after collecting different materials through investigative journalism for telecast in the name of “UPSC Jihad”.

It relied upon the Supreme Court's judgement in Swapnil Tripathi's case (2018) where the court had held sunlight is the best disinfectant and live streaming can be undertaken in cases of national importance as an extension of the principle of open courts. A three-judge bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud, Indu Malhotra and K M Joseph are likely to take up the matter on Friday.

The channel further submitted that it has run four episodes between September 11 and 14, which were viewed by crores of citizens of the country.

However, on September 15, the top court restrained it from running further episodes on a writ petition filed by advocate Firoz Iqbal Khan, saying it "apparently made insidious attempt to vilify Muslims".

The court had then indicated to regulate TV news channels after expressing displeasure over manner of debates, run by some of them, by appointing a panel.

In an affidavit, the Centre on Thursday told the court, if it desired to regulate the media, it should first do so with the digital media due to its serious impact and wider reach. The print and electronic media are already covered under a statutory regime.

The channel, for its part, maintained that there was no justification for pre-telecast ban on his remaining episodes. The issue raised by it was a “matter of grave public interest” and “national security” and must be subject to public debate and discussion.

It also alleged the Zakat Foundation, which supported Muslim aspirants for IAS, IPS services in the country, has received funds from various terror-linked organisations across the world.

He contended that Syed Zafar Mahmood, founder of Zakat Foundation of Insia, is “closely associated with...Zakir Naik”, whose Islamic Research Foundation was banned under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, (UAPA).

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Published 18 September 2020, 06:20 IST

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