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Demonising Muslims: Supreme Court unhappy with Centre’s response, says can hand case to independent authority

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New Delhi (ILNS): The Supreme Court today expressed dissatisfaction that the Centre’s affidavit–against the allegation that the Media had treated the Muslim community in a partisan manner–had no mention of the Cable Television Network Act.

The bench headed by the Chief Justice SA Bobde told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta: “We are not satisfied with the Centre’s affidavit. There is not a whisper about cable television Network act. It cannot be like this Mr Mehta.”

The plea has been filed by Jamiat Ulama I Hind against the Union of India, asking it to direct the government and the media not to demonize the entire Muslim community for the spread of COVID-19, because of one religious congregation, by the Tablighi Jamaat at Nizamuddin Markaz.

The Union of India has refuted Jamiat Ulema I Hind’s claim that media was largely communal in reporting about Tablighi Jamaat incident. The Centre has also submitted in the Supreme Court that the government issued 743 orders of blocking fake or misleading content on social media related to COVID.

The CJI said: “ We had asked you to specify how Cable TV Network Act can be used to control the content of Cable TV network. Your affidavit is silent on it. The other issue is, what steps can you take to deal with such complaints, the mechanism, your affidavit is silent on it. Please put all these in your amended affidavit. You, the Centre, has the power under the Act.”

The CJI also said: “Under which section has the centre acted under the act and what is the authority or mechanism under the act? If there is a mechanism then it should look into the petition also. If you are the authority then why should someone else decide the matter?

“If there is no authority, you create an authority, otherwise we will hand the matter over to some other independent authority,” the court said.

The matter will be listed on a non-miscellaneous day.

The Supreme Court was hearing the plea filed by Jamiat Ulama I Hind against the Union of India – asking it to direct the government and the media not to demonize the entire Muslim community for the spread of COVID-19, because of one religious congregation, by the Tablighi Jamaat at Nizamuddin Markaz.

The plea filed by Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind and the secretary of its legal cell, through lawyer Ejaz Maqbool, contended that the unfortunate incident of the Tablighi Jamaat was being used to “demonise” and blame the entire Muslim community.

At least 9,000 people had participated in the religious gathering at Tablighi Jamaat’s headquarters in Nizamuddin West this year.

The congregation became a key source for the spread of COVID-19 in India as many of the participants travelled to various parts of the country for missionary works.

Out of the over 4,000 cases of coronavirus in the country, at least 1,445 have been found to be linked to the Tablighi Jamaat congregation in Delhi, the Union health ministry had said.

The plea has sought directions to the Centre to stop dissemination of fake news and take strict action against the section of the media spreading bigotry and communal hatred in relation to the Nizamuddin Markaz issue.

In addition to this, there are several fake reports and videos circulating on social media, showing Muslims in bad light, the plea contended.




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