Serious Adverse Reports By Intelligence Bureau: Kerala HC While Upholding Restriction On MediaOne
The Division Bench of the Kerala High Court has held that there are "certain serious adverse reports by the Intelligence Bureau against M/s.Madhyamam Broadcasting Limited and its Managing Director", while upholding the Judgment of the Single Judge, dismissing the Writ Petitions of MediaOne and others.
M/s.Madhyamam Broadcasting Limited is the company that owns the Malayalam news channel MediaOne.
Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave had appeared for the channel while Additional Solicitor General Aman Lekhi appeared for the Center.
The Bench of Chief Justice S. Manikumar and Justice Shaji P. Chaly has also noted in the Judgment that the nature, impact, gravity and depth of the issue is not discernible from the files of the Home Ministry that were perused by the Bench.
"But, at the same time, there are clear and significant indications impacting the public order and security of the State. Since it is a confidential and sensitive file maintained by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Union of India, we are not expressing anything further in the interest of national security, public order and other aspects concerning the administration of the nation", the Bench has stated in its Judgment.
The Bench has also stated that "..even though too many details are not available in the files produced before us, we are of the view that there are certain aspects affecting the public order or the security of the State on the basis of the report of the Intelligence Bureau and other Investigating agencies".
The Bench has noted that the Apex Court, while emphasizing the relevance and importance of the freedom of the Press, makes it abundantly clear that the restrictions contained under Articles 19(3) and (4) of the Constitution of India dealing with public order include the security of the State.
The Court holds that intention of the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 is explicit from the objects and reasons and that significance shall be given to the interests of the nation and as such a purposive interpretation shall be given to the provisions of the extant laws.
"The extant guidelines also demonstrate that in the matter of grant of permission and renewal for uplinking and downlinking, by the ministry of broadcasting, the Ministry of Home affairs is an inseparable link", the Court holds.
The Court holds that the security of the State and public order are very vital for the fair and smooth functioning of the nation and therefore, significance and importance shall be provided to the interests of the citizens of this country, rather than other aspects.
"Taking into account the above vital aspects, including the contents of the confidential files produced before us, we are of the view that the learned single Judge was right in declining interference with the order passed by the Union Government refusing renewal of uplinking and downlinking permission to M/s. Madhyamam Broadcasting Limited for telecast operations through 'Media One TV' ", the Division Bench holds.
The Bench dismissed the appeals while holding that the appellants failed to establish any jurisdictional error or other legal infirmities in the judgment of the learned Single Judge.
The Single Bench of Justice N. Nagaresh had held, after perusing the files produced before it by the Home Ministry, that the recommendations of the Committee of Officers to the MHA and accepted by the MHA, are justified by supporting materials.
It had refused to stay its order while the channel filed the appeal before the Division Bench. Even the Division Bench had not granted any interim relief to the channel and it has been off-air since the judgment of the Single Judge on 8th February.