Sudarshan TV matter pending in SC, says Delhi HC

HC says Sudarshan TV matter pending in SC, refrains from entertaining plea

On September 15, the apex court had put on hold the telecast of a program by the channel

Representative image. Credit: iStockPhoto

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday said the issues in the plea challenging the Centre's approval for Sudarshan TV's 'Bindas Bol' programme were already being looked into by the Supreme Court, and it was not going to examine the matter.

Justice Navin Chawla also denied repeated requests of the petitioners' lawyer to adjourn the matter for eight weeks to await the decision of the apex court which is likely to hear the matter on Thursday.

Thereafter, the counsel for the petitioners -- former and present students of Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) University -- said he will withdraw the plea to approach the apex court.

"Petition is dismissed as withdrawn," the court said.

The petition had challenged the nod given on September 9 by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to the broadcast of the 'Bindas Bol' programme whose promo claimed that the channel was all set to broadcast a "big expose on conspiracy to infiltrate Muslims in government service".

The petition by Syed Mujtaba Athar and Ritesh Siraj had claimed that the proposed show is full of hate speech and defamation against the petitioners and if the current petition is not adjudicated prior to its broadcast, irreparable harm will be caused to them and the plea will also become infructuous.

The plea had said the ministry has refrained from exercising its powers under the Cable TV Act to prohibit the proposed show.

It had claimed that the ministry passed a non-speaking order, which is quoted as, “Having regard to the aforementioned facts and circumstances of the case, Sudarshan TV channel is hereby directed to ensure that the programme proposed to be telecast does not violate any of the programme codes. If any violation of the programme code is found, action as per law will be taken.”

The High Court on August 28 had stayed the telecast of the programme which was scheduled the same evening. On August 29, the court disposed of the plea with a direction to the ministry to take a decision on the prohibition of the proposed show pursuant to its August 28 show-cause notice.

The High Court had also directed the channel and its editor to not broadcast the proposed show till such time the ministry takes the decision.

However, the subsequent September 9 order of the ministry was not stayed by the High Court.

On October 26, the ministry told the apex court that it was ready with its order in relation to a show-cause notice issued to Sudarshan TV based on the recommendation of an inter-ministerial group which has viewed all the episodes of the channel's 'Bindas Bol' programme.

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