PIL filed in SC challenging Centre’s decision to ban BBC documentary

NEW DELHI, 29 Jan: A public interest litigation (PIL) has been filed in the Supreme Court against the Centre’s decision to ban a BBC documentary on the 2002 Gujarat riots in the country, alleging that it is “malafide, arbitrary and unconstitutional.”
The PIL, filed by advocate ML Sharma, also urged the apex court to call and examine the BBC documentary – both Parts 1 and 2 – and sought action against persons who were responsible and were involved directly and indirectly with the 2002 Gujarat riots.
Sharma said that, in his PIL, he has raised a constitutional question and the top court has to decide whether citizens have the right under Article 19 (1) (2) to see news, facts and reports on the 2002 Gujarat riots.
He has sought direction to quash the order dated 21 January, 2023, of the information & broadcasting ministry, terming it “illegal, malafide, arbitrary and unconstitutional.” His plea seeks to know whether the central government can curtail the freedom of the press, which is a fundamental right as guaranteed under Article 19 (1) (2) of the Constitution.
“Whether without having an emergency declared under Article 352 of the Constitution of India by the president, emergency provisions can be invoked by the central government?” the PIL said.
It 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.
On 21 January, the Centre issued directions for blocking multiple YouTube videos and Twitter posts sharing links to the controversial BBC documentary India: The Modi Question, according to sources. (PTI)