New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed the telecast ban imposed by the Union Government on Malayalam news channel MediaOne.
The Court passed the interim order in a special leave petition filed by the company running the channel assailing the Kerala High Court’s judgment of upholding the decision of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to not renew the broadcast license of the channel.
A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud, Surya Kant and Vikram Nath passed the order after examining the files produced by the Ministry of Home Affairs raising security concerns over the company running the channel. The bench perused the files itself, without sharing them with the petitioner, with the consent of its counsel Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave.
The bench said that a prima facie case was made out for the grant of interim relief for the channel. The channel has been allowed to operate as it used to do before the Centre’s decision.
“We are of the view that the case of grant of interim relief has been made out. We order and direct that Union Govt order revoking security clearance to Madhyaman Broadcasting Ltd stands stayed pending further orders. The petitioners shall be permitted to continue operating the news & current affair channel MediaOne on the same basis as the channel was being operated prior to the revocation of clearance”, the Court’s order stated.
The bench also clarified in the order that its perusal of the files should be understood as an approval of the sealed cover procedure.
“This order is not an expression on the tenability of files being examined to the exclusion of the petitioner…”, the bench observed in the order.
The Union has been asked to file the counter-affidavit by March 26. The bench indicated that it will go into the issue of the tenability of the sealed cover procedure.
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