New Delhi: The Centre on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that the widely controversial programme of private channel Sudarshan News TV, airing episodes on “Muslims infiltrating” government services — prima facie violated programme code and a showcause notice has been served to them.Also Read - Delhi High Court Refuses to Stay New IT Rules Regulating Digital News Media
The channel has to respond to the notice by September 28. Also Read - 'Highly Misplaced': India Strongly Rejects UN Special Branch's Criticism of New IT Rules
The Information and Broadcasting Ministry’s guidelines of Cable Television Network Rules, 1994 clearly says no programme should be aired which “contains an attack on religions or communities or visuals or words contemptuous of religious groups or which promote communal attitudes”. Also Read - Can India Suspend Twitter Like Nigeria if It Fails to Comply With New IT rules? EXPLAINED
The content of the particular programme of Sudarshan TV had infuriated the Supreme Court, which in a hearing last week had called the show an attempt to vilify Muslims.
“You cannot target one community and brand them in a particular manner,” the top court said, putting a temporary stop to the show “Bindas Bol”, which has seven of its nine episodes left to air.
The programme also raises a question mark on the Union Public Services Commission, which holds one of the most prestigious competitive exams, not only in country but across the world.
“The anchor’s grievance is that a particular group is gaining entry into the civil services,” said Justice DY Chandrachud. “How insidious is this? Such insidious charges put a question mark on UPSC exams, cast aspersion on UPSC. Such allegations without factual basis, how can this be allowed? Can such programmes be allowed in a free society,” he wondered.
Today, the court directed the Centre to deal with its notice to Sudarshan News TV as per law and decide. The court also asked the Centre to file a report on its decision on the channel.
Responding to the Centre’s plea that the hearing be deferred till the channel responds, the court said it would hear the matter again on October 5. The freeze on the programme will continue until then.