India is not a nation where anyone can claim absolute freedom of speech and expression with an exception that ‘free speech’ is claimed at the time of dissent. However the recent case of Sudarshan News have open the Pandora box and we’ve to re-evaluate the same.
Justice Chandrachud while adjudicating the matter remarked that Article 14 (which talks about Right of equality before the court) does not have to regulate everything to regulate something. This was in response to Sudarshan’s affidavit where they’ve talked about the NDTV’s reporting in 2008 allegedly defaming Hindu.
Supreme Court passed an interim order staying the future episodes of the show which was heavily criticized on Social Media by the netizens because of it’s judicial overreach in the case.
On odd days, the courts work as the Executive body of the country and on even days, the same courts are acting like Censor Boards. This act of court have made me ask the reasons of having separation of power in the Indian constitution. And no, this isn’t happening for the first time. I could recall that Supreme Court interfered into BCCI’s administration in such a way that Supreme Court judge literally asked the then President of BCCI Anurag Thakur about his credentials of being the president. And when Thakur responded with his credentials which included him playing cricket upto state level and president of state cricket association, the judge was quick to respond that he also plays Judge’s league. This was followed by Court establishing a committee to regulate the BCCI.
Now they’ve remarked that they may have appoint few eminent personalities to look over the hate speeches in media.
What’s the point of having statutory bodies & separation of power when the judiciary wants to do everything?
Despite producing enough evidences of infiltration and malafide invention through investigative journalism by the Sudarshan news, the court has deemed it as vilification of a community by putting a stay on the shows.
Where are the Freedom of Expression gangs?
Who is at fault if the conspirators happens to be a Muslim? Or when the gau-thives are Muslims? Before someone start calling me an Islamophobe, this was the question asked even by Sardar Patel in 1948!
Also why is the case is so restrictive to a particular society? If we look this into bigger picture, Court must also look into the shows, movies, journalism and series who are prima-facie Hinduphobic, Castist etc but allowed in the name of creativity. Will court look into those aspects where Hindu society is vilified or remain mute?
In Court, Senior Advocate Divan representing Sudarshan News perceives this to be an investigative story.
“There is an enormous amount of funding from abroad which is proving to be not friendly to India. They believe it is their duty to inform citizens about it.”
This was countered by Chandrachud J who have passed interim order staying further the showcase of further episodes by curbing the right if media:
“As the Supreme Court of this nation, we can’t allow you to say Muslims are infiltrating civil services. We can’t tolerate this. No one can say journalists have absolute freedom to say anything,” observes Justice Chandrachud, saying more episodes shouldn’t telecast till case is heard.
SC through it’s interim order have stopped Sudarshan News to show remaining episodes on “infiltration of Muslims” in UPSC.
But are the allegations labelled by Sudarshan News so wrong and vilifying Muslims for no reason?
Sanjeeb Newar, a renowned data scientist says that government’s policy favors Muslims over non-Muslims in UPSC. Muslims use benefit of both their minority status as well as caste based reservation. Also organisations like Zakat have made situation worse by infiltrating the most prestigious exam on the nation.
SC restrains Sudarshan News TV from telecasting a programme without going through the details of the program while passing adverse comment’s on the functioning of electronic media maybe dangerous.
Can subjective opinion be a criteria to judge content when J Chandrachud himself said that dissent is very important in a democracy. In the own words, Labelling Dissent Anti-National Strikes at Heart of Democracy”.
Is the SC order the beginning of censorship of media?