Monday, October 2, 2023

Supreme Court adjourns plea of News Broadcasters and Digital Association regarding self-regulatory mechanism of media

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The Supreme Court on Monday listed for hearing after four weeks, a petition filed by the News Broadcasters and Digital Association challenging the critical observations made by the Bombay High Court against self-regulatory mechanism for media.

The Bench led by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud adjourned the plea for four weeks after Senior Advocate Arvind Datar, appearing for the petitioner, sought time of four weeks, stating that the process of revisiting the self-regulatory mechanism of NBDA was underway.

Datar said the association was having consultation with Justice Arjan Kumar Sikri and Justice RV Raveendran on the matter.

Representing the News Broadcasters Federation (NBF), Senior Advocate Mahesh Jethmalani mentioned the rule that all self-regulatory bodies have to be registered with the government. 

While NBF was a registered body, the NBDA was yet to register itself, he noted and requested the Apex Court to hear the plea on either Friday or Monday on the grounds that the association did not have a locus. 

However, the Bench said that it did not want to get caught in this rivalry and wanted to ensure that the self-regulatory mechanism was strengthened.

It further said that since two former Supreme Court judges were having discussions with NBDA, it should be given time to produce the regulations before this court.

It further took in view the submissions of Jethmalani that a similar exercise was being carried out by NBF of making regulations since it was a registered organisation under the Act unlike the NBA.

The Bench directed both the associations to place their regulations before the court within four weeks.

Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta submitted that the mechanism formulated by the Union government operated at three tiers, the first of which was self-regulation.

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