SC ” We are extremely concerned about balance of right of dignity with free speech”

The observation was made by a bench headed by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud during the hearing of the Sudarshan News matter, where the top court has stayed the broadcast of five episodes titled “UPSC Jehad”.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday said that it is extremely concerned about the balance of the right to dignity with that of free speech.

The observation was made by a bench headed by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud during the hearing of the Sudarshan News matter, where the top court has stayed the broadcast of five episodes titled “UPSC Jehad”.

Advocate Sai Deepak, appearing for a group of three intervenors, argued before the bench also comprising Justices Indu Malhotra and K.M. Joseph that the top court must also focus on the chilling effect of such injunction orders.

Justice Chandrachud replied: “You are absolutely right. You are spot on. We are extremely concerned about balance of right of dignity with free speech.”

The bench cited that there is an amorphous group of people here.

Justice Chandrachud also said the court can’t dwell on specifics as to what can be removed or added in a particular TV programme.

The bench also noted as to what has to the nature of the order when it decides to lift the injunction.

“We must also consider that. There are post-telecast mechanisms under the criminal law too,” it observed.

Advocate Shadan Farasat, appearing for intervenors, submitted before the bench that it should continue with the injunction on the TV programme.

To this, Justice Chandrachud replied: “But that is the problem.”

The bench observed that the Sudarshan News has an absolute injunction right now.

“His not taking the opportunity given by us doesn’t absolve us of our responsibility to let him have his right under Article 19,” the bench said.

The top court said it will hear Solicitor General Tushar Mehta in detail on this matter and posted it for further hearing on Wednesday.

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