SC issues notice to Centre on pleas against blocking BBC documentary on PM Modi

By | Reported by Abraham Thomas | Written by Aniruddha Dhar, New Delhi
Feb 03, 2023 03:20 PM IST

The Supreme Court was dealing with two petitions - one filed jointly by MP Mahua Moitra, journalist N Ram and advocate Prashant Bhushan and the second by advocate ML Sharma.

The Supreme Court on Friday directed the Centre to produce the original record of its decision to take down tweets circulating links to the controversial BBC documentary ‘India: The Modi Question’ on the 2002 Gujarat riots.

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.(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.(AFP)

A bench of justices Sanjiv Khanna and MM Sundresh gave three weeks’ time for the Centre to file its response and placed the matter for hearing in April. The court was dealing with two petitions - one filed jointly by MP Mahua Moitra, journalist N Ram and advocate Prashant Bhushan and the second by advocate ML Sharma.

On January 21, the Centre issued directions for blocking multiple YouTube videos and Twitter posts sharing links to the controversial documentary.

The court declined to be dragged into the issue of students being punished for airing the documentary, saying the proceedings before it will confine to legal arguments.

"We are issuing notices. Counter affidavit be filed within three weeks. Rejoinder within two weeks after that," the bench said.

The matter is listed for the next hearing in April.

The petition has also sought quashing of “all orders directly or indirectly censoring” the information including those shared on social media.

The plea claimed that the BBC documentary has “recorded facts” which are also “evidence” and can be used to further the cause of justice for the victims.

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