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SC issues notice to the Centre concerning blocking of controversial BBC documentary

The Supreme Court of India on Friday issued a notice to the Centre to produce their pleas in response to a petition asking the court to stop censoring the BBC documentary about the 2003 Gujarat riots by the Central government.

On January 21, the controversial BBC documentary “India: The Modi Question” was asked to remove from various YouTube videos and Twitter messages sharing links according to the instructions issued by the Centre. Regarding this, the Centre was ordered by the Supreme Court of India to submit the original record of its decision to censor the BBC documentary.

The bench of Sanjiv Khanna and MM Sundresh stated that it could only issue an interim order on the appeal after the first hearing from the government and ordered that all relevant documents be produced at the next hearing.

The Supreme Court asked the Government to respond in three weeks. The two-judge panel of Sanjiv Khanna and MM Sundresh has requested a response from the Central government within three weeks and posted it by the next scheduled hearing in April.

“We are issuing notices. Counter affidavit be filed within three weeks. Rejoinder within two weeks after that,” the bench said. Further, the bench stated in its order, “We direct respondents to produce original records on the next date of hearing.”

However, the court stated that the hearings before it will limit to legal arguments and will not get involved in the matter of students being penalised for screening the programme.

The court was considering two petitions, one submitted jointly by Member of Parliament Mahua Moitra, journalist N Ram, and counsel Prashant Bhushan, and the other by advocate ML Sharma.

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