SC stays Centre's ban on Malayalam TV news channel
New Delhi, March 15, 2022
The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed the Centre's ban on Malayalam TV news channel Media One. The Central government had cited national security grounds to justify the ban.
A bench headed by Justice D. Y. Chandrachud said the court is of the view that ground for providing interim relief is made out by the petitioners and the January 31 order, issued by the Centre, revoking the security clearance granted to the TV channel should remain stayed, pending further orders.
The bench allowed the channel to resume broadcasting again, pending final adjudication of the matter.
On March 10, the Supreme Court on Thursday issued notice on a plea by Media One challenging the Kerala High Court order, which upheld the Centre's decision to not renew its telecast licence. The Centre had cited national security grounds to justify the ban. The top court granted interim relief in the petition filed by the channel.
The bench, also comprising Justices Surya Kant and Vikram Nath, passed the order after examining the files produced by the Ministry of Home Affairs, citing security concerns in connection with the TV channel.
The bench said: "The petitioners shall be permitted to continue operating the news & current affairs channel MediaOne on the same basis as the channel was being operated prior to the revocation of the security clearance."
The top court has asked the Centre to file a counter affidavit in the matter within two weeks.
Media One had moved the top court after the Kerala High Court upheld the ban imposed on it by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
The division bench of the high court comprising Chief Justice S. Manikumar and Justice Shaji P. Chali noted that, when certain issues with respect to the security of the state are concerned, the government is at liberty to decline to renew the permission granted, without disclosing the complete reasons for the non-renewal. The high court on March 2 dismissed the appeals filed by the channel's management and journalists challenging a February 9 single-bench order, which refused to lift the ban.