Advocate ML Sharma has filed a PIL in the Supreme Court challenging the Centre's decision banning 'India: The Modi Question', a BBC documentary on the 2002 Gujarat riots in the country, alleging that the ban was "malafide, arbitrary and unconstitutional".
Sharma has sought direction to quash the ban order dated January 21, 2023, of the Ministry of the Information and Broadcasting, terming it as illegal, malafide, arbitrary and unconstitutional. His plea said whether the central government can curtail freedom of 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.'
The PIL also urged the apex court to call and examine the two-part BBC documentary and sought action against persons who were, directly and indirectly, responsible involved with the 2002 Gujarat riots, under the then Gujarat CM Narendra Modi.
Sharma said that in his PIL he has raised a constitutional question and the top court has to decide whether citizens have the right under Article 19 (1) (2) to see news, facts, and reports on the 2002 Gujarat riots. It claimed the BBC documentary has "recorded facts" which are also "evidence" and can be used to further the cause of justice for the victims.
On January 21, the Centre issued directions for blocking multiple YouTube videos and Twitter posts sharing links to the controversial BBC documentary "India: The Modi Question", according to sources. The government has also labeled the BBC documentary as a propaganda piece lacking objectivity.
(With PTI inputs)