New Delhi, May 31 (ILNS): The Supreme Court bench of Justices DY Chandrachud, L Nageshwar Rao Justice Ravindra Bhat today said it was of the view that provisions of 124 A (promoting disaffection against state) and 153 (promoting enmity between groups) of the IPC “require interpretation particularly on the right of press and free speech.”
The bench was hearing a sedition case filed against Telugu news channels TV5 News and ABN Andra Jyoti. While issuing a six-week notice in this regard, the bench also stayed any coercive action against the news channels by the Andra Pradesh Police.
The police had lodged an FIR against the channels under Sections 124A, 153A, 505 r/w 120B of the Indian Penal Code, stating that these channels conspired with a sitting MLA of Karnataka, Raghurama Krishnam Raju, and they have provided “premeditated” and “organised” slots to Raju and gave him a platform to echo his hate speeches against the government and his own party leader CM YS Jaganmohan Reddy. It has also been alleged that these TV news channels have telecast the hate speech on a daily basis, repeatedly.
It may be noted that Raju was given bail by the apex court in a sedition case two weeks ago on the condition, inter-alia, that he will not give TV Interviews and speeches while on bail.
The Telugu news channels were defended by the Senior Advocate Siddharth Luthra, who also pleaded for stay of investigation.
The plea in court says that the intention of the impugned FIR to criminalise the act of airing views of a sitting MP, who is a public figure, is clearly violative of the petitioner’s right to freedom of speech and expression, and also creates a chilling effect for media houses in the state. ILNS/ABV/SJ