Supreme Court stays centre's ban on MediaOne channel


Supreme Court | Photo: AP

New Delhi: The Supreme Court of India here on Tuesday issued an interim order staying the central government's telecast ban on Malayalam channel MediaOne. In it's interim order, the apex court allowed the channel to resume broadcasting.

The court accepted the pleas by Madhyamam Broadcasting Limited and its employees against the decision of the union government to deny clearance for renewing its licence.

A bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud, Surya Kant and Vikram Nath said that the news and current affairs channel will continue its operations as it was operating prior to the ban of telecast.

The bench left the question open on whether content of files on the basis of which the ban order was passed be given to the channel to enable it to defend itself.

The top court asked the Centre to file a detailed counter affidavit by March 26 on the appeals filed by the channel against the High Court order.

On March 10, the top court had sought response from the Centre on the channel's plea of against the Kerala High Court order upholding the Centre's decision to ban its telecast on security grounds.

Earlier, the Kerala High Court upheld the Centre's decision to bar telecast of the Malayalam news channel and had dismissed the plea of Madhyamam Broadcasting Ltd -- which operates MediaOne -- challenging the central government's January 31 decision.

The high court had said that the decision of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to deny security clearance was based on intelligence inputs received from various agencies.

The central government had also said that the MHA denied security clearance over national security concerns based on intelligence inputs.

The channel had contended that MHA clearance was only required at the time for fresh permission/license and not at the time of renewal.

It had also contended that, according to the uplinking and downlinking guidelines, security clearance was only required at the time of application for fresh permission and not at the time of renewal of licence.

( with inputs from PTI)

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