BBC Documentary Ban: Supreme Court Issues Notice To Centre, Twitter, Google

OB Bureau

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday issued notice to the Central government, Twitter and Google on petitions challenging the ban on the BBC documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The apex court directed the Centre to produce original records pertaining to the ban on a two-part series which questions then-Gujarat chief minister Modi’s role in the 2002 Gujarat riots.

The Centre has been given three to submit its response. Further hearing on the matter will take place in April.

A bench comprising Justices Sanjiv Khanna and MM Sundresh, hearing a couple of petitions on the controversial documentary, issued the notice.

The first petition was filed by advocate ML Sharma, while the other was jointly filed by Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra, journalist N Ram and advocate Prashant Bhushan.

The petitioners termed the Union government’s decision to block the documentary as ‘manifestly arbitrary and unconstitutional,’ citing freedom of speech and expression, and citizens’ right to know while challenging the ban on the documentary and links of it on social media.

They wanted their tweets sharing links of the documentary to be restored. The government had issued directions for blocking multiple YouTube videos and Twitter posts sharing links to the BBC documentary.

The petitions’ argument was that even if contents of the documentary and its viewership/discussion thereupon is unpalatable to the powers that be, it is no ground to curtail their freedom of speech and expression.

OB Bureau

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