Supreme Court of India | Photo: Mathrubhumi
New Delhi: The Kerala High Court approved the broadcast ban without verifying the credibility of the report produced by the union home ministry, argued Malayalam news channel MediaOne in its fresh affidavit before the Supreme Court.
The owners of the channel, Madhyamam Broadcasting Ltd, contended that such moves under the garb of national security will lead to curtailing of free speech. The SC bench comprising of Justices DY Chandrachud, Surya Kant and AS Bopanna has slated to hear the matter on August 10.
The affidavit filed by Madhyamam Broadcasting Ltd’s managing director Yaseen Ashraf Kallinga through advocate Haris Beeran has highlighted issues related with HC’s assent. It is not clear whether HC has examined the actual intelligence report. Also, it is not clear whether the HC approved the ban by examining the minutes of the meeting held by the committee of officers, the affidavit pointed out.
The affidavit reiterated MediaOne’s earlier contention that banning telecast without handing over the report concerned is against natural justice. A security clearance is only required during license application and it does not have to be attained during the renewal.
Earlier, the union government in an affidavit before the apex court claimed that it denied clearance to the MediaOne channel based on the intelligence reports. It also maintained that handing over the report would affect national security.
The channel was taken off air on January 31 this year after the union government said the company has not renewed its clearance. The Kerala HC single bench stayed the ban while a division bench upheld the ban. The company then approached the SC and the apex court gave it a temporary relief.