‘Extremely Evasive, Brazenly Short Of Details’: CJI Pulls Up Centre For Filing Shoddy Affidavit In Pleas Seeking Action For Communal Branding Of Covid19

first_imgTop Stories’Extremely Evasive, Brazenly Short Of Details’: CJI Pulls Up Centre For Filing Shoddy Affidavit In Pleas Seeking Action For Communal Branding Of Covid19 Sanya Talwar8 Oct 2020 12:29 AMShare This – xThe Supreme Court on Thursday pulled up the Centre for filing a shoddy affidavit in a plea seeking strict action against the media for communalization of the Coronavirus pandemic, in light of the Tablighi Jamaat meeting in Delhi’s Nizamuddin.A bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde, Justices AS Bopanna & V. Ramasubramaniun noted that the Ministry concerned had filed an affidavit without…Your free access to Live Law has expiredTo read the article, get a premium account.Your Subscription Supports Independent JournalismSubscription starts from ₹ 599+GST (For 6 Months)View PlansPremium account gives you:Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.Subscribe NowAlready a subscriber?LoginThe Supreme Court on Thursday pulled up the Centre for filing a shoddy affidavit in a plea seeking strict action against the media for communalization of the Coronavirus pandemic, in light of the Tablighi Jamaat meeting in Delhi’s Nizamuddin.A bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde, Justices AS Bopanna & V. Ramasubramaniun noted that the Ministry concerned had filed an affidavit without even taking into account the details related to the incidents of bad reporting.”We must tell you Mr. Mehta, you cannot treat the Court the way you are treating it in this case. You have filed an affidavit by a Junior Officer. We find it extremely evasive and mentions nothing about bad reporting. How can you say theres no incident?” said CJI SA Bobde.In this backdrop, the Solicitor General said that a fresh affidavit will be filed by the next date and that he will personally be vetting it.The Chief Justice, while taking strong objection to the affidavit, said that the department’s Secretary must file an affidavit on record and he must point out what he says regarding these incidents. “We also want all acts under which you have exercised similar powers in the past”, he added.Further, a brief exchange regarding the implication of the Cable Television Networks Act also ensued whereby the CJI stated that the bench had looked over Section 20 of the law.”This power is exercisable only with relation to Cable TV and not to television signals so this act does not help. Now we want to know, does the Govt. have any powers to ban or question the tV broadcast signals?” asked the CJI.Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave at this juncture, added that the Department had used powers under the Cable TV Act.”This was on 6th March, 2020 itself. This is an admitted position, they have been controlling TV Channels. This emanates from the Act” said Dave.However, CJI responded, “Just because they have exercised it does not mandate it by law. They must exercise the power which is only vested in them”.Dave further pointed out that it had fell from the affidavit of the Centre that this petition is trying to “muzzle freedom of speech”.CJI Bobde said, “They are entitled to make any argument like you people are. This Freedom of Speech may be the most abused freedom in recent times”.The Court was hearing the petition filed Jamait Ulama-i-Hind seeking action against media reports indulging in communal branding of COVID-19 pandemic in the light of Tablighi Jamaat meeting held in Delhi last month.The plea stated that certain sections of the media had been using “Communal headlines” and “bigoted statements” to demonise and blame the entire Muslim community of deliberately spreading the corona virus across the country, which had in turn threatened the lives of Muslims.The petition(s) filed through Advocate Ejaz Maqbool & Adeel Ahmed stressed that the Government, particularly the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, had failed in its duty to give equal protection of the law to all persons in India under Article 14 of the Constitution by allowing the media to present facts in a twisted manner, using phrases that were prejudicial to the Muslim community.It is further argued that the media has violated all norms of Journalistic conduct by resorting to such “dog whistle tactics” of targeting Muslims.Furthermore, such reporting is in clear violation of Rule 6 of the Cable Television Networks Rules, 1994 which prohibits any program which contains attack on religions or communities or visuals or words contemptuous of religious groups or which promote communal attitudes, it was averred.”Actions of certain sections of the media are also against the letter and spirit of the Code of Ethics and Broadcasting Standards issued by the New Broadcasters Association, which is the regulatory body for news channel. Under the Code, ensuring neutrality and objectivity in reporting is one of the foremost principles of media regulation,” the plea highlightedNext Storylast_img read more