Delhi HC stays broadcast of Sudarshan News show on the ‘infiltration of Muslims’ in the Civil Services

The Delhi High Court Friday stayed the broadcast of a show by Sudarshan News channel on the “infiltration of Muslims” in the Civil Services with the hashtag ‘UPSC Jihad’ which, according to the petitioners, sought to defame, attack and incite hatred against Jamia Milia Islamia, its alumni and the Muslim community at large.

A single-judge bench presided by Justice Navin Chawla issued a restraint order against the broadcast on a plea filed by former and current students of Jamia Millia Islamia University.

The judge also issued notice to the Centre, UPSC, Sudarshan News channel and its Editor-in-Chief. The matter would be heard on September 7.

Advocate Shadan Farasat appeared for the petitioners.

Sudarshan News channel and its editor-in-chief Suresh Chavhanke uploaded a trailer for the proposed broadcast on his Twitter page on August 25.

The plea contended that Suresh Chavhanke openly engaged in hate speech and defamation against students of Jamia Milia Islamia and the Muslim community, and had claimed that the success of Jamia Milia Islamia students in the Civil Services examination 2020 represents a conspiracy to infiltrate the civil service by Muslims.

Suresh Chavhanke, the petitioner said, openly incited his target non-Muslim audience by fearmongering that “jihadis” or terrorists from Jamia Milia Islamia would soon hold positions of authority and power like that of Collector and Secretary.

According to the plea, the proposed broadcast along with the trailer violated the programme code set out under the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, read with the Cable Television Networks Rules 1994.

Petitioners asserted that the proposed broadcast and trailer also constituted hate speech and criminal defamation and is an offence under Sections 153A(1) [Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony],153B(1) [Imputations, assertions prejudicial to national-integration], 295A [Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage reli­gious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or reli­gious beliefs] and 499 (defamation) of the Indian Penal Code.

Read the order

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