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Freedom of press vis a vis national interest: “UPSC JIHAD” show

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ujjwaltiwari
Final Year Law Student of "Symbiosis Law School "

An act by an individual or group of individual that is directly and indirectly linked with harming the integrity of India i.e. “Bharat” should be unacceptable. The whole issues with the Sudarshan TV show “UPSC JIHAD” is in respect with above mentioned statement. The issue is with respect to the “claimed donation” that Zakat Foundation is collecting in name of charity is basically fund coming from certain organizations and people like Zakir Naik who are directly or indirectly not in favor of national interest. India is the nation wherein the law makers have vested the citizens with number of rights but “jural opposite” of such right is the duty that also comes into picture hand in hand. It is the duty of every citizen to look upon these duties while exercising their fundamental rights governed under part III of the constitution. Bimal Gurung v Union of India hon’ble apex court explicitly observed that demonstration of any kind by exercising rights protected under Article 19 of constitution of India isn’t an absolute right. Any kind of demonstration that is been used as a tool against the national integrity of our country isn’t protected under Article 19 of the constitution.

“UPSC JIHAD” has raised the issue of foreign illegal funding in name of Zakat, the issue is serious and the same should be investigated upon. Now the narrative that has been alleged that the show is itself against the secular state is a fictitious claim. The show is basically talking about the sudden increase of a particular community in civil services and its direct link with the illegal funding. The whole show was result of journalistic privilege to investigate an organization’s funding in public interest. Therefore intent of the show was in public interest and not against any one community.  Intent of the show was very clear as it raised the issue of terror funding in Zakat Foundation which in turn is helping the UPSC aspirants from a particular community. Raising such an issue after conducting a proper investigation is for sure under the regulatory regime of constitution of India.  Hence there are intuitions of larger conspiracy that is been exercised upon against India which should be investigated by the agencies like NIA.  

There are catena of cases including Romesh Thapar v/s State of Madras A.I.R. 1950 SC 124, Union of India v/s Association for Democratic Reforms (2002) 5 SCR 294, Sakal Papers v/s Union of India A.I.R. 1962 SC 305; wherein “Freedom of access to all sources of information, Freedom of publication, Freedom of circulation has been explicitly upheld by the judiciary. Hence exercising the same freedom, Sudarshan TV has investigated upon the case and come up with the show “UPSC Jihad”. So it’s absolutely under the regulatory regime of the constitution. The only restriction that is imposed upon the press while exercising its right under Article 19(1)(a) of Constitution of India is that with respect to nature of information. As said earlier that with rights comes the duty so it is duty of the press not to deliver one-sided information, disinformation, misinformation, non information because all results to one thing that is uninformed citizenry that frustrates the very purpose of democracy as held in Union of India v. Assn. for Democratic Reforms (2002) 5 SCR 294. But the show that was been broad casted does not fall under any such category hence is should be allowed.

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ujjwaltiwari
Final Year Law Student of "Symbiosis Law School "

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