Supreme Court to hear pleas on BBC documentary row, asks petitioners seeking ban to mention case again

BySnehashish Roy
Feb 03, 2023 09:40 AM IST

Supreme Court today will hear two petitions filed against the ban on the BBC documentary on Narendra Modi.

The Supreme Court will hear two petitions challenging the ban on the BBC documentary on Narendra Modi today after it was mentioned for urgent listing. The documentary – India: The Modi Question – sparked controversy in the political corridors following Centre's direction to Twitter and YouTube to take the link down from their platforms, calling it a "propaganda piece designed to push a discredited narrative". The top court has also directed the petitioners seeking complete ban on the documentary to mention the case again for urgent listing.

People watch the BBC documentary "India: The Modi Question", on a screen installed at the Marine Drive junction under the direction of the district Congress committee, in Kochi on January 24, 2023.(AFP)
People watch the BBC documentary "India: The Modi Question", on a screen installed at the Marine Drive junction under the direction of the district Congress committee, in Kochi on January 24, 2023.(AFP)

Read| Rijiju slams PIL against Centre's BBC documentary ban, calls it ‘waste of Supreme Court's precious time’

Separate pleas were filed by Trinamool MP Mahua Moitra, senior journalist N Ram and advocate Prashant Bhushan, and advocate M L Sharma seeking direction to restrain the central government from censoring the BBC documentary.

The case will be heard by a bench comprising justices Sanjiv Khanna and M M Sundresh, headed by Chief Justice of India D Y. The bench has also asked the petitioners seeking ban on the documentary to mention the case again today for urgent listing.

Petitions against the ban on the documentary sought the top court's direction to quash "all orders directly or indirectly censoring" the the information shared on social media.

"All citizens including the press have the fundamental right to view, form an informed opinion, critique, report on, and lawfully circulate the contents of the documentary," it said.

Appearing for the Moitra, Ram and Bhushan, advocate C U Singh said last week that the Centre has invoked emergency powers under IT rules to remove documentary links from social media.

Read| ‘Be secular’: SC on plea seeking ban on parties using religious symbols

The apex court also asked the petitioners seeking complete ban on the documentary to present the case again on Friday for urgent listing. The petitions were filed by Hindu Sena president Vishnu Gupta and a farmer Beerendra Kumar Singh seeking probe against BBC and its employees. It further alleged that BBC has been biased against India and Indian government.

On Thursday, Rajya Sabha MP and senior Supreme Court advocate Mahesh Jethmalani said BBC is linked to China's Huawei. "BBC apologists in India demand proof that Huawei payments to BBC were linked to the documentary. Its not just Huawei that pays BBC but at least 18 other Chinese clients! Lord Alton MP in a stinging criticism of BBC says "HIS BREAD I EAT, HIS SONG I SING," Jethmalani tweeted.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Snehashish is a content producer at Hindustan Times. A driven journalist with hands-on experience in print, digital and broadcast. A Jadavpur University alumnus who believes everything is come-at-able.

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