The Supreme Court Bench comprising Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and Hima Kohli, on Thursday, indicated that the contents of the concerned pages of MHA files on Mayalayam news channel MediaOne TV were vague.
The court has reserved judgment in the matter.
The top court was hearing the pleas filed by MediaOne, its Chief Editor, Kerala Union of Working Journalists against the judgment of the Kerala High Court, whereby the telecast ban imposed on the channel by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting was upheld. The Union government had decided against renewing the broadcasting license of the news channel citing the denial of security clearance by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs. On 15 March this year, after examining the files produced by MHA, the Supreme Court of India passed an interim order and stayed the telecast ban imposed by the Union Government.
“See how vague… that is why the High Court said nothing detailed. Now you know why the HC made those observations in those two paragraphs,” the apex court bench today said.
During the hearing, the top court said that the party should know what is the breach of national security.
“Mr. Nataraj, the only thing is that the security clearance is granted or denied by a third party. What is the remedy then for a citizen who is denied permission?” Live Law quotes as Justice Chandrachud asking the ASG.
Clarifying that Justice Chandrachud is not a proponent of receiving documents in sealed cover, he stated that the Court is not indicating that sealed cover cannot be submitted in any matter, but if it is indeed submitted then the State would be obligated to satisfy the court that there is tangible material to trigger national security, the legal website reported.
Mediaone TV is the only Muslim-owned private satellite channel in India. “For 6 weeks we are shut down simply because we are run by some members of the minority community. What else it is,” Senior Lawyer Dushyant Dave had said to the top court earlier.
Global journalist bodies, Opposition leaders and media fraternity across the country had backed the channel and called out the Union government’s action “arbitrary”.
In March 2020, the Union govt imposed a 48-hour ban on MediaOne for its reportage on the Delhi pogrom alleging “channel seems to be critical towards Delhi Police and RSS.”