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Petitioners approaching SC against ban on BBC documentary wasting court's precious time: Kiren Rijiju
New Delhi: Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju on Monday, expressed displeasure over petitions moving Supreme Court against the Centre's decision to ban the BBC documentary 'India: The Modi Question' on social media.
Journalist N Ram, Advocate Prashant Bhushan and TMC MP Mahua Moitra today approached the apex court challenging the Centre's decision to block BBC's documentary. Reacting to this, Law Minister Kiren Rijiju tweeted, "This is how they waste the precious time of Hon'ble Supreme Court where thousands of common citizens are waiting and seeking dates for Justice."
Senior Advocate CU Singh today mentioned before the Supreme Court bench how the tweets by senior journalist N Ram and advocate Prashant Bhushan with links to the BBC documentary were deleted using "emergency powers" and how students from Ajmer were suspended for streaming the documentary.
Their plea sought directions restraining the respondents/Centre from censoring the information contained in the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Documentary titled, 'India: The Modi Question' and to call for and quash all orders directly or indirectly censoring the same, including but not limited to order dated January 20 passed by the respondent and all subsequent and consequential proceedings arising therefrom.
The order dated January 20 and subsequent and consequential proceedings arising therefrom are not in the public domain, stated Ram, Bhushan and Mahua Mitra's joint plea.
The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to list on February 6, a PIL against the Centre's decision to ban the BBC documentary on the 2002 Gujarat riots in the country.
A bench headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud said it would list the matter for hearing next Monday.
Advocate ML Sharma, who has filed the PIL, mentioned the matter for an early hearing.
The PIL sought quashing of the January 21 order of the Centre, terming it "illegal, mala fide, arbitrary and unconstitutional".
The PIL filed by advocate Sharma also urged the apex court to call and examine the BBC documentary - both parts I and II - and sought action against persons who were responsible and were involved directly and indirectly with the 2002 Gujarat riots.
PIL has raised a constitutional question and the apex court has to decide whether citizens have the right under Article 19 (1) (2) to see news, facts and reports on the 2002 Gujarat riots, Sharma said.
"Issue writ of mandamus to the Respondent for quashing of the impugned order dated January 21, 2023, issued under rule 16 of IT rule 2021 being illegal, malafide and arbitrary unconstitutional and void ab-initio and ultra vires to the Constitution of India to provide complete justice," the PIL stated.
As per the sources, on January 21, the Centre issued directions for blocking multiple YouTube videos and Twitter posts sharing links to the controversial BBC documentary.
Whether the central government can curtail freedom of press which is a fundamental right as guaranteed under Article 19 (1) (2) of the Constitution, asked the PIL.
It added, "Whether without having an Emergency declared under Article 352 of the Constitution of India by the president, Emergency provisions can be invoked by the central government?" (ANI)