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High Court revokes ban on Assamese serial ‘Begum Jaan’

GUWAHATI: The Gauhati High Court has revoked a ban pressed on an Assamese television serial last month and permitted its telecast as long as it doesn’t upset religious feelings.

On Thursday, a single judge bench of Justice Suman Shyam, acting on a petition by AM Television and its managing director Sanjive Narain, upheaved the two-month ban thrusted by Guwahati police commissioner MP Gupta on ‘Begum Jaan’, telecast by Rengoni TV, on the ground the order didn’t follow assigned guidelines.

Rooted on four complaints from Hindu Jagaran Manch that the serial upset religious emotions and use content disparaging towards one religion, the police commissioner had banned it on August 24 for two months and released a show cause notice to AM Television.

The complainants had reported that the serial encouraged ‘love jihad’. The allegation was rebuffed by Narain who told journalists that it was “about a Hindu girl who gets into trouble in a Muslim locality and is saved by a Muslim boy”.

Challenging the ban foisted on counsel of a monitoring committee, the petitioners notified the court that the order profaned guidelines issued by Government of India as the committee didn’t incorporate a representative from electronic media.

Also, the petitioners told the court that while the GoI guidelines need hearing statements of both parties before such a ban is thrusted, in the current case it was not obeyed and the petitioners were not provided copies of the complaints or given an opportunity to air their vision.

The court found both the disagreements of the petitioners to be true, after inspecting records, and rebuked the police commissioner for issuing the ban without obeying assigned guidelines.

“The respondent number 4 (Guwahati police commissioner) was clearly not justified in suspending telecast of the serial by an ex parte blanket order without giving an opportunity of hearing to the petitioners to explain their stand or recording any cogent reason for doing so,” the order read.

(Source: TNEC)

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