Supreme Court to decide sealed cover issue in Media One case

The Supreme Court in the case Madhyamam Broadcasting Limited v. Union of India observed in the plea challenging the telecast ban imposed on Malayalam news channel Media One the court further granted more time to the Union Government to file their counter.

The Bench observed that the petitioners shall be permitted to continue operating the news and current affairs TV channel called Media One on the same basis on which the channel was being operated immediately prior to the revocation of the clearance on 31 January 2022. The court stated Madhyamam Broadcasting Limited, shall remain stayed and therefore the court stated direct that pending further orders, the order of the Union government dated 31 January 2022 revoking the security clearance which was granted to the petitioner.

The bench said that the fact that it has perused the files given by the Ministry should not be construed as an approval of the sealed cover process. the bench had further observed that it is the “averse” to sealed cover process and said that it will examine the validity of this process, while granting the interim relief to the channel.

the interim order passed by the court in a special leave petition filed by the company running the channel assailing the Kerala High Court’s judgment of upholding the decision of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to not renew the broadcast license of the channel. the Court had stayed the order of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting which refused to extend the license for the channel under the Cable TV Network Regulation Act it is passed on March, 15 in an order passed.

Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave submitted that in the case of Jignesh Mevani MLA in Assam since a sealed cover has been submitted before the Gauhati High Court the issue happened again the Advocate stated while appearing for the channel, requested that the issue of “sealed cover” must be decided authoritatively.

It also took objection to the High Court dismissing its petition based on the sealed cover documents furnished by the Centre, without sharing the contents with the petitioner, the channel contended that the Ministry did not divulge the reasons for its decision.

The Bench stated that the respondents need more time to file a counter and They sought two weeks but the court observed and stated that will grant them 4 more weeks while considering the upcoming vacation, it will be decided.

A Bench comprising of Justice D.Y Chandrachud and the justice Surya Kant and justice Bela M Trivedi granted four more weeks to the respondents to file a counter affidavit in the case.

The bench further stated that to grant an interim relief that has been made out on behalf of the petitioners having due regard to the contents of the files which have been perused by the Court. the court observed on the view of this case.

The order was passed by the court after examining the files and concerns regarding the company running the channel produced by the Ministry of Home Affairs raising security concerns.

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