The Supreme Court today issued notice on the two pleas, one challenging the alleged ban by the Centre on the BBC Documentary "India: The Modi Question" and the other challenging the order of the Centre to remove tweets of persons sharing the documentary.

The Court adjourned the pleas to April, for completion of pleadings. The Court refused to list the matters on any earlier dates and directed the Centre to file its Counter Affidavit in three weeks.

A Bench comprising Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice MM Sundresh refused to pass an interim order directing the Centre to produce documents relating to the action taken by the Centre, as prayed for by the petitioners. It also was not inclined to go into the issue raised by Senior Advocate CU Singh about Universities taking action against students who displayed the documentary in campus.

Justice Khanna observed during the hearing that people are already accessing the documentary. "You have produced the complete documentary", the Court told Senior Advocate CU Singh who was appearing for Journalist N Ram, Advocate Prashant Bhushan and Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra.

The Court also issued notice on Advocate ML Sharma's plea after he submitted that his plea is substantially different and that the other petitioners have raised personal grievances.

The PIL filed by Advocate ML Sharma challenges the Center's 'ban' on the documentary and also urges Court to examine the Documentary, both parts I and II, and seeks action against persons who were responsible and were involved directly and indirectly with the 2002 Gujarat riots.

The other petition is filed by N Ram, Prashant Bhushan and Mahua Moitra challenging the removal of their tweets containing web links of the BBC Documentary.

During the mentioning on January 30, before the CJI DY Chandrachud, Senior Advocate CU Singh said that tweets by N Ram and Prashant Bhushan were deleted using emergency powers and that students from Ajmer were suspended for streaming the Documentary.

Sharma, in his PIL, has sought direction to quash the order dated January 21, 2023, of the Ministry of the Information and Broadcasting, terming it as illegal, malafide, arbitrary and unconstitutional.

His plea asks whether the central government can curtail freedom of the press which is a fundamental right as guaranteed under Article 19 (1) (2) of the Constitution. "Whether without having an Emergency declared under Article 352 of the Constitution of India by the president, Emergency provisions can be invoked by the central government?" the PIL said.

It claimed that the BBC Documentary has recorded facts which are also evidence and can be used to further the cause of justice for the victims.

On Monday, the Bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, Justice PS Narasimha and Justice JB Pardiwala had agreed to hear the pleas on February 6, upon mentioning.

The Union Law Minister had reacted to it saying that pleas are a waste of precious time of the Supreme Court. "This is how they waste the precious time of Hon'ble Supreme Court where thousands of common citizens are waiting and seeking dates for Justice", the Minister had said.

Cause Title- N. Ram & Ors. v. Union of India & Ors.