SC notice to centre on Zee News plea

New Delhi, Feb 12 (IANS) The Supreme Court Tuesday issued notice to the central government on a petition by Zee News TV channel alleging an "unholy conspiracy" and seeking the quashing of three FIRs lodged against it by Delhi Police.

The apex court bench of Chief Justice Altamas Kabir, Justice Anil R. Dave and Justice Vikramajit Sen issued notice as senior counsel Harish Salve, appearing for the channel, told the court that three FIRs were filed against the news channel, on its report on coal blocks allocation, at the instance of industrialist and Congress Lok Sabha member Naveen Jindal.

Salve told the court that "it is obvious that Naveen Jindal and Delhi Police are acting in an unholy conspiracy in the matter".

The channel also questioned some clauses of the policy guidelines providing for content code of the broadcasts and its adherence for uninterrupted uplinking and downlinking facilities of the television channels.

The policy guidelines regulating the content of the TV broadcasts impinged upon the freedom of speech, Salve said.

Describing the filing of the three FIRs as a "brazen attempt by somebody pushing the police to act in a particular way", Salve urged the court to either quash them or transfer their investigation to some other agency.

One of the FIRs filed Oct 2, 2012 at 11.50 p.m. alleges attempts by the management of the Zee News to extort money from the management of Jindal Steel and Power Limited (JSPL), a company owned by the MP.

The second FIR, filed Jan 4, pertains to carrying the interview of the friend of Delhi gang-rape victim in which her name was disclosed. The third FIR of Jan 15 relates to the complaint of Jindal Steel.

The entire case is rooted in alleged linkage of JSPL with the coal blocks allocation irregularities highlighted by the government auditor's report that alleged a loss of Rs.1.85 lakh crore to the exchequer.

Assailing clause 5 of the policy guidelines that provides for the code to control and monitoring the content of the news channels' reports, Salve said: "in the idea of democracy and free press, government can't control the contents of the channel broadcast".

Salve told the court that if there was anything defamatory in the channel reports then there were legal remedies but the government could not control the content of the broadcasts.

The guidelines under challenge clearly "abrogate the right to free speech and fell outside the ambit of permissible limits on the right to free speech under Article 19(2) of the constitution", Salve said.

The constitutional rights could only be restricted by the parliamentary statute and not by the government orders, the court was told.

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Bangalore lose nerve, lose game

Bangalore lose nerve, lose game

IPL 7, GAME 11—Vinay's over, Lynn's catch turns last-over finish in KKR's favour. More »

Boycotting IPL will not save cricket

Boycotting IPL will not save cricket

Boycotting the IPL as a means of protest against the grime in the game may not yield the desired results. More »

Jadeja spins out Rajasthan in close chase

Jadeja spins out Rajasthan in close chase

IPL 7, GAME 10—Chennai beat Rajasthan by 7 runs after last-over scare. More »

Gambhir a knock away from striking form - KKR coach

Gambhir a knock away from striking form - KKR coach

Gautam made an eight-ball duck in the opening game against Mumbai and in the second game against Delhi, he lasted only half those balls. More »

Rivals say Srini group delaying BCCI special general meeting

Rivals say Srini group delaying BCCI special general meeting

The group opposed to Srinivasan alleged that since BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel belongs to the president’s group, he was intentionally delaying the SGM… More »

April 24: A legend is born

As Sachin Tendulkar turns 41 - here's a look at some offbeat moments from the Master Blaster's innings. More »

Cleaning up the game starts with fans

Cleaning up the game starts with fans

... because, as recent events reveal, the BCCI has little intention of doing it. More »

SL in 'difficult place' after Farbrace exit

SL in 'difficult place' after Farbrace exit

Sri Lanka depart for assignments in Ireland and England in two weeks, and Sanath Jayasuriya suggested Marvan Atapattu would be interim head coach for those… More »

Chandimal axed as T20 captain

Chandimal axed as T20 captain

Sri Lanka's cricket selectors on Wednesday sacked Dinesh Chandimal as Twenty20 captain and replaced him with Lasith Malinga, while Angelo Mathews was… More »

Vithanage, Priyanjan get T20 call-ups

Vithanage, Priyanjan get T20 call-ups

Herath has been rested, while the team will be without the veteran pair of Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara, who retired from T20 internationals… More »

'BCCI should have picked panel with care'

'BCCI should have picked panel with care'

Dalmiya said that it was the first time that the BCCI had been faced with a situation where the apex court had hauled up the Board and it should have acted… More »

Farbrace is England's assistant coach

Farbrace is England's assistant coach

The ECB continued the restructuring of the England coaching set-up on Wednesday by announcing the appointment of Paul Farbrace as assistant coach. More »

SC asks Mudgal committee to continue

SC asks Mudgal committee to continue

Mukul Mudgal has communicated to the court his willingness to take up the investigation and has been asked to specify the terms and modalities on April… More »

Sri Lanka players resolve pay dispute

Sri Lanka players resolve pay dispute

The pay dispute between Sri Lanka Cricket and its 13 contracted players ended on Wednesday when the latter agreed to accept 10 percent of the participation… More »

Hope to be fit for next game - Pietersen

Hope to be fit for next game - Pietersen

With two heavy defeats at the hands of Bangalore and Chennai, Daredevils currently languish near the bottom of the table. More »

'SC decision could hurt BCCI's status'

'SC decision could hurt BCCI's status'

The Supreme Court prefers that the Justice Mudgal panel further investigate the IPL corruption scandal. More »

Mudgal panel drops bombshell in court

Mudgal panel drops bombshell in court

The Mukul Mudgal probe committee dropped a bombshell in the Supreme Court on Tuesday by making a sensational claim that it was forced to stop audio recording… More »

Perfect Punjab trounce Hyderabad

Perfect Punjab trounce Hyderabad

IPL7, GAME 9—Maxwell (95, 43b), Balaji (4-13) set up 72-run win. More »

Have the ECB played an unfair game?

Have the ECB played an unfair game?

Money talks, but it is in light of this ICC shakeup that the ECB's act of soliciting of another team's coach deteriorates from free-market aggression to… More »

Farbrace quits for England post

Farbrace quits for England post

He will assist Peter Moores who was unveiled as the new England coach on Saturday. More »

Moin appointed to manage Pakistan team

Moin appointed to manage Pakistan team

Pakistan on Monday reappointed Moin Khan as chief selector and manager of the national team, a week after fellow former captain Rashid Latif turned down… More »

Chennai smash Delhi for first win

Chennai smash Delhi for first win

IPL7, MATCH 8—Raina-led middle order, superlative catching give CSK a 93-run win. More »

'BCCI reputation lowest in 80 years'

'BCCI reputation lowest in 80 years'

The former BCCI president says he was "disillusioned" by the happenings at the emergent working committee meeting on Sunday. More »

Injured Bravo to miss rest of IPL

Injured Bravo to miss rest of IPL

Dwayne Bravo is set to be sidelined for at least four weeks due to a shoulder problem. Bravo sustained the injury when attempting a catch on the boundary… More »