After hearing lawyers from both sides, the Supreme Court retained its injunction over the Media One injunction case.
New Delhi,UPDATED: Nov 4 2022 05:09 IST
India’s Supreme Court retained its injunction over the Media One ban case. (Photo: India Today archive)
By Kanu Sarda: The Supreme Court on Thursday reserved its verdict on the petition filed by Malayalam news channel Media One regarding the denial of security clearance, after which the channel was banned from broadcasting.
A bench of judges DY Chandrachud and Hima Kohli reserved the verdict after hearing lawyers from the central government and the broadcaster.
The court is examining whether the government can ban the broadcast under the guise of national security without giving reasons. The court will also deal with the aspect of a sealed report often filed by the government in courts claiming national security.
ALSO READ | Media One Case: Supreme Court Asks Center to Justify Channel Ban
WHAT WAS SAID IN COURT?
During the hearing, a series of questions were put to the Additional Solicitor General (ASG) KM Natraj by Justice Chandrachud about how the security clearance for the channel was denied without disclosing the reasons for taking such a step. The government’s decision denied the channel the right to defend itself in court.
The highest court asked the ASG to justify their ban after the station had been running undisturbed for 10 years. “The channel has previously received a security clearance. A media company cannot be equated with other matters as far as national security is concerned. Were there any specific charges against them for violating the channel’s rules?” Justice Chandrachud asked the ASG.
In response, Natraj said, “I’m ready to show the files to prove my point.”
ALSO READ | Media One ban case: lawyer says sealed-cover culture creates prejudice in court
To this Judge Chandrachud said, “Why can’t these files be shown to the defense attorneys so that they have a good defense? They should also know the reason. What’s so great that you can’t show the files? You can see the names of involved officials.”
He continued: “Personally I am completely against the culture of the sealed cover, but you have to convince us that this affects national security.” The bank asked the ASG to demonstrate to the court that there were excessive circumstances for not showing the files.
The files were later shown to the bank.
Senior lawyer Hufeza Ahmadi refuted the Center’s submission, telling the court: “This court has seen in so many cases how a blanket ban on press freedom will have a chilling effect. If this continues, a trend will be set and the government, on The pretense of national security will continue to do the same. If this is allowed, it will have huge consequences and will affect all national news channels.”
ALSO READ | Explained: What Is The Sealed Cover Method Used In Courts?