In a new development to the Sudarshan TV controversy, transparency activist Venkatesh Nayak and renowned academician Professor Jagdeep Chhokar have jointly written a letter to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) urging them to initiate winding up proceedings before the jurisdictional National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) against M/s Sudarshan TV Channel Ltd for its attempt to convey that the Indian Muslim minority is involved in an act of terror by means of infiltrating the civil services.
This, according to the signatories to the letter, is a commission of acts prejudicial to public order, constitutional morality and indeed to the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India.
In support of their request, Nayak and Chhokar have referred to Section 271 of the Companies Act, 2013 which inter-alia provides that a company may be wound up by a Tribunal if the company has acted against the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality.
To buttress their argument, the duo have cited the Supreme Court’s interim order restraining Sudarshan TV from broadcasting the remaining five episodes of “UPSC Jihad”.
“The Supreme Court found the said programming objectionable in two respects: firstly, the publication of patently false information in the guise of news, and, secondly, the existence of a deliberate design to persecute a minority which is constitutionally entitled to the dignity and equal regard which is afforded to all Indians. As to the first, it found that the said programming was riddled with “not just palpably erroneous but [which] have been made in wanton disregard of the truth”. On the second, it found an “intent, object and purpose” to “vilify the Muslim community”, the letter states.
Sudarshan News, the letter states, indulges in a consistent and continuing pattern of hate, rising to what the Supreme Court has termed vilification. In addition, it routinely applies the same modus of circulating verifiably false statements designed and intended to provoke hatred and threaten public order.
“The content that is broadcast by Sudarshan News TV creates a hostile public culture and environment which directly confronts the ‘decency and morality clause’, and specifically, constitutional morality itself as understood from Article 19(2) because it normalises religious discrimination against a particular minority community in India using outrageous methods of slander and abuse”, the letter highlights.
It adds by making disparaging and distasteful remarks, Sudarshan News TV subordinated a community as a whole, violated their group dignity and the constitutional requirement of equality and of respecting group identity inter-alia especially of vulnerable minority groups and of the inherent dignity of all persons.