The Supreme Court today agreed to list on February 6 a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) against the Centre’s decision to ban a BBC documentary on the 2002 Gujarat riots in the country. Advocate ML Sharma moved the plea today mentioning the matter for an early hearing before a bench headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud.
The advocate challenged the Centre’s decision to ban the BBC documentary titled ‘India: The Modi Question’, alleging that the ban was “malafide, arbitrary and unconstitutional”.
The PIL urged the apex court to call and examine the BBC documentary’s both parts. The plea also urged the Supreme Court to take action against persons responsible for the 2002 Gujarat riots. The advocate said in his plea that the top 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.
Earlier on January 21, the Center had issued directions for blocking multiple YouTube videos and Twitter posts sharing links to the controversial BBC documentary. The Ministry of External Affairs has trashed the documentary as a “propaganda piece” that lacks objectivity and reflects a colonial mindset.
Urging the apex court to quash the January 21 order issued by the Ministry of the Information and Broadcasting, the plea asked whether the central government can curtail freedom of press which is a fundamental right as guaranteed under Article 19 (1) (2) of the Constitution.
“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?” the PIL said. The advocate claimed the BBC documentary has “recorded facts” which are also “evidence” and can be used to further the cause of justice for the victims. (With PTI/ANI inputs)