New Delhi: Not happy with the Centre’s affidavit in a case related to media reporting of Tablighi Jamaat congregation during the onset of COVID-19 pandemic, the Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Centre to consider setting up a regulatory mechanism to deal with such content on TV. Also Read - Arnab Goswami’s Plea Against Privilege Notice Adjourned for Two weeks by SC
While hearing the matter, the apex court said the Centre should also inform as to what steps have been taken on the issue under the Cable Television Network Act (CTNA). Also Read - COVID Situation May Worsen by Next Month: SC Asks 4 States to Submit Status Report Within Two Days
“First you did not file a proper affidavit and then you filed an affidavit which did not deal with the two important questions. This way it cannot be done Mehta,” a bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta. Also Read - AG Venugopal Grants Consent For Contempt Proceedings Against Kunal Kamra Over His Tweet
“Mehta, we are not satisfied with your reply. We wanted you to tell as to what actions you have taken under the Cable TV Network Act,” said the bench, also comprising Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian.
During the hearing of the matter, the top court said the Centre, in its affidavit, has not dealt with the aspect of applicability of the CTNA and the legal regime concerning this.
“We want to know as to what is the mechanism to deal with these contents on television. If there is no regulatory mechanism then you create one. Regulation cannot be left to organisation like NBSA (News Broadcasters Standards Authority),” the bench said.
The apex court bench, which was hearing the pleas filed by Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind and others alleging that a section of the media was spreading communal hatred over Tablighi Jamaat congregation during the onset of pandemic, asked the Centre to file a fresh affidavit dealing with mechanism to regulate electronic media under the CTNA.
The bench said it had asked the Centre to specify how CTNA could be used to control the content of cable TV network and also about steps which could be taken to deal with such complaints but the affidavit is silent on these aspects. The top court has posted the matter for hearing after three weeks.
(With inputs from PTI)