The Supreme Court today asked three central ministries and others including Press Council of India (PCI) to respond to a PIL seeking framing of guidelines to regulate contents of television channels.
A bench of Chief Justice P Sathasivam and Justice Ranjan Gogoi issued notices to ministries of Information and Broadcasting, Law and Justice and Communications & Information Technology.
Besides them, PCI, Election Commission, News Broadcasters Association, Indian Broadcasting Foundation and Advertising Standards Council of India have also been asked to respond to the PIL which has been filed by Hindu Janjagruti Samiti, a registered public charitable trust, through its Mumbai-based lawyer Rajeev K Panday.
The plea also said the court should declare that a 2008 government order will not preclude an authorised officer under the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act from initiating criminal prosecution against a channel in case of violation of provisions of the Act.
It alleged that there is "complete absence" of regulatory authority for TV Channels.
"The petition raises a substantial question of public importance and public interest relating to the necessity of an effective regulation of electronic media in matters involving public morality, public decorum, social tranquillity and public order," Panday said.
"There is no regulatory body for TV channels which is comparable with Press Council of India that regulates the print media. Though TV channels are audio-visual media, there is no censorship on their contents. In other words, a film that cannot be released without censor certificate can straightaway be released on a TV channel," the PIL said.