New Delhi, Sep 23: The Centre on Wednesday informed the Supreme Court it has, prima facie, found that the Sudarshan TV programme, titled “UPSC Jehad”, violated the Programme Code, and a result, a detailed show cause notice has been issued to the channel to explain why action should not be taken against it.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, told a bench headed by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud that Sudarshan TV has been asked to furnish a reply to the notice by September 28 and suggested the court adjourn the hearing in the case.
At this, the bench observed that had it not intervened on the matter and passed an injunction, then all ten episodes would have been broadcast.
“The programme would have been over now, if the court had not intervened,” said Justice Chandrachud.
Mehta argued that it would be better if the court’s intervention was the last resort in the matter.
Justice Chandrachud observed that at some point, the hearing needs to end, as all good things need to come to an end.
Mehta also submitted before the bench, which comprises Justices Indu Malhotra and K.M. Joseph too, that if no reply is received on the notice, then an ex parte decision will be taken.
“It is a detailed show cause notice showing facts which are prima facie, according to the Centre, not in accordance with the Programme Code.”
Advocate Shahrukh Alam, counsel for petitioners against the broadcast of the TV show, contended before the bench that there has been continuous inaction on the part of the executive and the Centre has acted arbitrarily.
Advocate Gautam Bhatia, representing the intervenors against the show, argued that besides the issues taken care off by the government, there are other larger issues.
Justice Chandrachud replied that the bench is not saying the matter will end after the Centre takes a call on the issue, and asked Mehta if the Centre hear the petitioner challenging the show.
Mehta replied law does not permit that and that the Centre will hear Sudarshan TV.
As Justice Joseph asked if it will be illegal to hear the petitioner, Mehta said that if there were 10,000 complaints, then it is not possible to hear all of them.
Justice Chandrachud, however, insisted that the Centre should hear the petitioner but Mehta said they cannot, as it will become a bad precedent.
The top court said the hearing should continue on October 5 and noted that the Centre will file a report regarding the outcome of the decision on the matter. It also said the order passed on September 15 barring telecast of the remaining episodes will continue to remain in operation.