The Supreme Court of India canceled Centre's ban on Malayalam news channel MediaOne on Wednesday. The SC bench of CJI DY Chandrachud and Justice Hima Kohli, according to reports, said that Ministry of Home Affairs' failure to disclose the reasons of the ban restricted core principles of natural justice.
The top court was hearing Media One's plea that challenged the Kerala High Court order upholding the information and broadcasting ministry's order to revoke the news channel's license.
The court, reportedly also said that an independent press is necessary for a robust democracy and that criticism of the government's policies cannot be stretched to mean any of the grounds under Article 19 (2) which may restrict free speech.
SC slams Centre
The court slammed the Centre and said, "Can't make national security claims out of thin air."
The bench also mentioned that the Union government did not attempt to explain how non-disclosure would affect transparency either.
The court, according to a News18 report, stated that the Ministry of Information Broadcasting will issue a renewal license to the channel within four weeks.
The court said that critical views of Media One cannot be termed anti-establishment and use of this term means that press must support the establishment.
MediaOne went off air in January 2022 after the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting did not renew its license. The ministry of home affairs also refused to renew uplinking permissions citing 'narional security'.
The Kerala High Court in March last year dismissed Media One's appeal and upheld the telecast ban while later that year Supreme Court passed interim order permitting its broadcasting.
Notably, the Malayalam news channel was also prohibited from telecasting for 48 hours for being 'critical towards Delhi police and RSS' in their reportage of Delhi riots.
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