The Supreme Court on Friday issued notice on petitions challenging the Centre's decision to ban BBC documentary on 2002 Gujarat riots. The apex court declined to pass an interim order, but directed the Centre to place before it the original record of decision taken and scheduled the next hearing in April.
A bench comprising Justices Sanjiv Khanna and MM Sundresh directed that the Centre should produce the original records in connection with its order on the documentary on the next date of hearing in April.
The apex court was hearing a petition filed by journalist N Ram, advocate Prashant Bhushan and Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra, and another petition filed by advocate ML Sharma.
Senior advocate C.U. Singh, representing N Ram and others, submitted that it was a case where the Centre invoked the emergency powers under the IT Rules to block the documentary. The bench asked counsel, "Why should you not go to the high court first?"
Singh replied that the apex court had transferred to itself the petitions pending in the high court challenging the IT Rules and urged the bench to grant interim relief in the matter. The bench said it is not considering that aspect at the present juncture and orally observed that people have been accessing the documentary.
The apex court said it can't pass interim directions without hearing what the government has to say. After hearing submissions, the bench issued notice in the matter.
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The documentary titled 'India: The Modi Question' has been banned on social media and online channels, but some students have screened it on campuses of various universities across the country.