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The Bombay High Court Tuesday granted ad-interim protection to Careworld TV channel by deferring till November 24 a one-week ban imposed on it by the Union government.
Justice M S Karnik, who presided over the vacation bench, directed the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to file a reply clarifying the statutory provisions under which the channel was ordered to go off air. The channel had been banned for a week for violating the “programme code” prescribed by the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act by showing “adult content”.
“By way of an ad-interim protection, implementation of the penalty of prohibition is deferred till November 24,” said Justice Karnik. The court was hearing a plea filed by Seven Star Satellite Private Ltd that runs Careworld TV channel. The channel had challenged a November 2 order of the Information and Broadcasting ministry that directed it to go completely off air from November 9-16.
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The order had said its Inter-ministerial Committee (IMC) found the channel had violated the above code while airing one of its late-night shows.
Justice Karnik, however, clarified that in case the regular bench finds that the channel’s plea lacks merit, it will have to undergo the week-long suspension. In the meantime, the channel has been restrained from broadcasting the show the ministry took objection to. “It is made clear that in the event this interim order is vacated or the petition is dismissed, the prohibition imposed by the order shall be enforced,” said the judge.
According to the counsel appearing for the channel, while they were issued a showcause notice and given a hearing by the competent authority, the authority has not taken into consideration various contentions and submissions advanced by them.
He said as soon as the ban order was received on November 4, the show was taken off air.
The counsel said this show was meant to address several health problems, including those of sexual health and that the channel had recorded “100 episodes of the programme in 2006 and since then, the same set of episodes were being broadcast at 11 pm for the last 10 years”.
“If the ministry had no problems with the show in the last so many years, why has it now served a ban order without according any reasons for the same,” asked the lawyer.
The Union government’s counsel, senior advocate Rajiv Chavan, meanwhile told the court that the government was well within its powers to issue the ban order.