BBC documentary: SC agrees to hear plea of N Ram, Mahua Moitra, Prashant Bhushan
New Delhi: Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra, senior journalist N Ram, and advocate Prashant Bhushan on Monday approached the Supreme Court seeking direction to restrain the central government from censoring the BBC documentary on the 2002 Gujarat riots.
The petition sought direction to quash all orders which directly and indirectly block online access to BBC's documentary "India: The Modi Question". The plea termed the Centre's decision to block the documentary as "manifestly arbitrary" and "unconstitutional".
The petitioners further sought restoration of their tweets sharing the links of the documentary, which were taken down by Twitter following Centre's orders.
The right to freedom of speech and expression guaranteed to citizens by Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution also includes the "right to receive and disseminate information", the plea stated.
Even if the contents of the documentary and its viewership/discussion thereupon are unpalatable to the powers that be, it is no ground to curtail the freedom of speech and expression of the petitioners, the plea added.
As per the sources, on January 21, the Centre issued directions for blocking multiple YouTube videos and Twitter posts sharing links to the controversial BBC documentary.
Senior advocate CU Singh mentioned the matter before Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud on Monday for urgent hearing and the court agreed to list the matter.
Today, the bench posted for hearing on February 6 a PIL filed by advocate ML Sharma challenging Central government orders to block the documentary.
The PIL filed by advocate Sharma also urged the apex court to call and examine the BBC documentary - both parts I and II - and sought action against persons who were responsible and were involved directly and indirectly in the 2002 Gujarat riots. (ANI)