Delhi HC declines to stay broadcast of Sudarshan News show on Muslim ‘infiltration’ in civil service

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |

Updated: September 11, 2020 4:30:13 pm

The channel is headed by Suresh Chavhanke. (File Photo)

The Delhi High Court Friday declined to stay the broadcast of a show by Sudarshan News channel, which claimed to be an “expose” on the “infiltration of Muslims” in the Civil Services. A notice has been issued to the channel.

The latest development comes after the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, citing that there is no pre-censorship of any show telecast on TV channels, asked the channel, headed by Suresh Chavhanke, to ensure that the show does not violate the laid-down programme code.

Claiming vindication of its stance, Chavhanke had said in a statement that it will air the programme “Bindas Bol” on Friday at 8 pm.

The programme had come under judicial scrutiny before the Supreme Court and the Delhi High Court last month. The apex court had refused to impose a pre-broadcast ban on Sudarshan TV, but the high court in an interim order stayed the telecast of the show, which was scheduled to be on air at 8 PM on August 28.

The promo of the show claimed to contain a “big expose on conspiracy to infiltrate Muslims in government service”, referring to Jamia Milia Islamia University alumni who cleared the civil services exam this year.

The students of Jamia Millia Islamia university said the show sought to incite hatred against them. The petition in the High Court, filed by current and former students of Jamia, submitted that the show sought to “defame, attack and incite hatred against Jamia Millia Islamia, its alumni and the Muslim community at large”.

Chavhanke had tweeted a promo of the show last month, in which he used the expression “Jamia ke Jihadi”. In both the promo video and his tweet, Chavhanke used the hashtag “UPSC_Jihad”.

Explained | Censorship before a show: the law, rulings

Acting on complaints over the promo, the I&B Ministry had issued a notice to Sudarshan News, asking it to clarify about the content of the show in context of the Programme Code enshrined under Cable Television Network Rules, 1994.

“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 code. If any violation of the programme code is found, action as per law will be taken,” the ministry order said.

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