Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Let this message go to media as well that any community shouldn’t become a target: SC on Sudarshan TV row

The Bench of Justices DY Chandrachud (right top), Indu Malhotra (right bottom) and KM Joseph (left) brought up many problematic issues seen in the episodes that have already been aired.

The Supreme Court on Friday questioned right-wing media Sudarshan TV over its ‘UPSC Jihad’ programme, which had claimed to be a big expose on the conspiracy by Muslims to infiltrate into government service, and said that any community should not become a target.

The Bench of Justices DY Chandrachud, Indu Malhotra and KM Joseph brought up many problematic issues seen in the episodes that have already been aired.

“While we respect freedom of media, let this message go to the media as well that any community shouldn’t become a target. Ultimately, we all exist as a nation, which must be cohesive and not against any community,” Justice Chandrachud said.

Chandrachud told senior advocate Shyam Divan, who was representing Sudarshan TV that a pictorial representation of a Muslim is being shown with a beard, skull cap and green face, with flames in the background.

“Everytime you refer to a Muslim, you put him in a green t-shirt,” referring to the show run by Mr Chavhanke, Chandrachud said.

“There is a background of fire and flames. Throughout the clip, there are flames in the background,” he noted.

The SC also criticised the News Broadcasters’ Association as “toothless” for not doing enough to check incendiary content being aired across the country. 

The matter will be heard next on Monday.

“We have no problem that you’re referring to an NGO and their funds. The difficult arises when you implicate an entire community to infiltrate the bureaucracy. This part becomes a real issue,” Chandrachud said.

Justice Chandrachud also said that this is a cause of concern and because this is where it goes from free speech to hatred as it implies that every member of that community has an agenda.

Chandrachud said: “As judges we are also concerned about national security. But, we have to protect human dignity as well.”

Justice Joseph told Divan: “What kind of attitude are you inculcating with this ? When 4 episodes have already been broadcast ? Will you continue with this rant ? There are other communities also who want to “capture the power”. The bottom line is you’re maligning community.”

Joseph stated that the Government of India wants the Muslim community come up.

“Not just Muslims, but every backward community. The fact that 50% comprised of people from marginalised communities should have been a matter of joy for our country,” he added.

While referring to the show, Justice Indu Malhotra stated that there are two issues that are problematic such as the flames picture and one in which a person is running with 500 crores written on his chest. She says that this must be taken down.

Yesterday, Sudarshan TV had filed an affidavit before the Court contending that Zakat Foundation of India (ZFI), a coaching institute for Muslim UPSC aspirants, has received funds from various terror-linked organizations.

The Supreme Court asked the Zakat Foundation whether it wanted to intervene in the case.

Senior advocate Sanjay Hegde, who appeared on behalf of Zakat Foundation , said the NGO was a charitable organisation that carried out a social service, and only paid the fees of IAS classes.

“Zakat Foundation of India is non-sectarian and out of 27 people the channel alleges, 4 are non-Muslims. We don’t conduct any residential programs. We only pay the fees of the IAS coaching classes. Such social service is not being done even at the government level,” Hegde said.

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