The Supreme Court is hearing a case involving private TV channel Sudarshan News for a controversial show on alleged infiltration of Muslims into civil services examination conducted by Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).
The Centre told the top court that it has issued a showcase notice to the news channel for the programme “Bindas Bol” where the focus is sudden rise in the number of Muslims in civil services; the channel calls it “UPSC Jihad”. Sudarshan News has been given time to file its reply by September 28.
Here is everything you need to know about the issue:
• Sudarshan News aired four episodes in the programme on September 11, 12, 13 and 14, 2020, and there are around six more episodes remaining to be broadcast in the programme series. The Supreme Court has put a pre-broadcast ban on the remaining episode till the time the case is decided.
• The petition against the programme has been filed by a lawyer, Firoz Iqbal Khan, who submitted that “Bindas Bol” contained statements which were derogatory about the entry of Muslims into the civil services. In the programme’s trailer, which was widely shared on social media platforms, the anchor and editor-in-chief of Sudarshan News, Suresh Chavhanke, was seen questioning how there had been a sudden increase in the number of Muslims succeeding in Indian Administrative Service and Indian Police Service exams.
• Khan has contended in his petition that such views were derogatory to Muslims, had a divisive potential and was in violation of the programme code spelled out under the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act of 1995 which regulates television content.
• Sudarshan News has maintained that the intention of the programme is not to vilify the Muslim community but to highlight the allegedly dubious sources of foreign funding received by an organisation that supports and provides coaching for civil service aspirants.
• On September 21, the top court had pondered over the nature and extent of its order regulating “Bindas Bol” saying it did not want to “curtail” freedom of speech as the programme has “public interest” involved on issues of “foreign funding” and “reservation”.
• The channel has urged the apex court to lift the stay on the telecast of the remaining six episodes of the controversial programme, saying the channel would abide by laws.
• But the Centre tol the bench of justices DY Chandrachud, Indu Malhotra and KM Joseph that it has served a four-page notice seeking a written submission from the channel regarding violation of programme code and why action should not be taken against it.
• The bench has adjourned the hearing in the case till October 5.