SC Slams Centre For Doing Nothing To Curb TV Programmes With ‘Instigating’ Effect

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has pulled up the Union government for “not doing anything” to curb TV programmes which have “instigating effect”.

The apex court, hearing petitions seeking action against reports which allegedly communalized the Tablighi Jamaat event in March 2020, observed that control over such news is as important as some kind of preventive measure and checking law and order situation, reported.

“The fact of the matter is that there are programmes which have instigating effect and you being the government is doing nothing about it,” the three-member bench, comprising Chief Justice SA Bobde, Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian, told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who was appearing for the Centre.

It may be recalled that a religious congregation at Nizamuddin Markaz in Delhi last March was said to be responsible for spreading coronavirus in the country as those who attended allegedly carried the infection to different parts of India.

“There are programmes which instigate or impact a community. But as a government, you do nothing,” the bench observed.

“Yesterday, you shut down the internet and mobile because of the farmers’ visit to Delhi. I am using the non-controversial term. You have shut down internet mobile. These are problems that can arise anywhere. I don’t know what happened in the TV yesterday,” the CJI said.

“Fair and truthful reporting is normally not a problem. Problem is when it is used to agitate others. It is as important as providing lathis’ to policemen. It is an important preventive part of the law and order situation,” the bench said.

The court said it is concerned about programmes which have instigation effect.

“Control over some news is as important as some preventive measure and check law and order situation. I don’t know why you are blind to this. I don’t mean anything offensive but you are doing nothing about it,” the CJI said.

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