regular-article-logo Friday, 22 September 2023

Supreme Court throws out plea to ban BBC

Centre has used its 'emergency' powers under Information Technology Act to bar broadcast of BBC documentary

R. Balaji New Delhi Published 11.02.23, 03:21 AM
Representational image

Representational image TTO Graphics

The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed as “completely misconceived” and “absolutely meritless” a petition seeking a ban on the BBC in India and an NIA probe into the British broadcaster’s alleged anti-India activities, a reference to a recent documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“It is completely misconceived, absolutely meritless. How can this be argued? You want us to put a complete censorship?” the bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and M.M. Sundresh told senior advocate and former additional solicitor-general Pinky Anand, appearing for the petitioners — Hindu Sena president Vishnu Gupta and Beerendra Kumar Singh.


The Centre has used its “emergency” powers under the Information Technology Act to bar the broadcast of the BBC documentary, India: The Modi Question, relating to the 2002 Gujarat riots.

At the very outset, Justice Khanna, heading the bench, expressed displeasure at the argument of the PIL petitioners seeking a ban on the BBC’s operations in India and a probe by the NIA on the ground that it was “anti-India, anti-Hindu and anti-Modi”.

Anand, however, pleaded that the matter needed to be examined as the documentary had been released at a time when India was becoming a major economic power and also the “fifth largest economy”.

Justice Khanna said: “Do you think this documentary will make a difference to this (India’s growth projections)? What is this? What type of argument is this? Do you want us to put a complete censorship? We can’t do it.”

Anand said that certain restrictions had been imposed even during the Bombay riots, the Delhi bus gang rape and murder and in Kashmir.

The bench firmly replied: “Please, let us not waste any more time.”

“The petition is entirely misconceived… dismissed.”

Sveep data

The fourth edition of the Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation (Sveep) will involve more use of data to increase turnout as well as consolidation of multiple government databases.

At a restricted media interaction last week, the Election Commission’s special officer for Sveep, Ranbir Singh, said the new strategy would include “booth-level planning and action”, and specific plans for booths and constituencies where the turnout was below average. The latest edition of Sveep has been launched last year and it will continue till 2025.

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