New Delhi | Delhi High Court today fixed for tomorrow the hearing on a PIL seeking lifting of the ban on the telecast of a controversial BBC documentary featuring an interview of one of the four convicts in the December 16 gangrape case. A bench of justices B D Ahmed and Sanjeev Sachdeva, which was scheduled to hear today the plea seeking direction to declare the act of banning the documentary by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and Delhi Police Commissioner as illegal,listed it for tomorrow.
The court had earlier refused to give urgent hearing after three law students –Vibhor Anand, Arun Menon and Kritika Padode– in their two separate PILs, said fundamental right of freedom of speech and expression of public at large/ citizen under Article 19 of Constitution of India have been infringed due to government’s illegal action to ban the broadcasting of the documentary.
They approached the high court after a trial court on March 4 had banned until further orders the broadcast of the interview of December 16, 2012 gangrape convict Mukesh Singh, allegedly conducted in July 2013 inside Tihar jail here. Earlier, a trial court had restrained the media from broadcasting or publishing the interview of Mukesh Singh after the Delhi police moved the court seeking the restraint.
The Information and Broadcasting Ministry had also issued an advisory to all television channels to not broadcast it. The government had also sought an explanation from Tihar jail authorities over how the convict was interviewed while being in judicial custody. Vibhor Anand in his petition, filed through advocate V K Anand, has sought lifting of the ban on the ground that it is nothing but a honest look at the mind and mindset of one of the convicted rapists of the young woman.
Advocate Naman Joshi, appearing for other two law students, has also sought direction to the Bar Council of India to expedite action against the two lawyers — advocate A P Singh and M L Sharma — who had allegedly made derogatory anti-women remarks in the documentary.
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