Ban on BBC documentary on Dec 16 convict to continue: High Court

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New Delhi, Apr 15: The ban on the telecast of controversial BBC documentary "India's Daughter" on the December 16, 2012, gang rape will continue, the Delhi High Court ordered on Wednesday.

It also refused to pass any interim order on plea against prohibition to telecast the documentary. [Don't ban 'India's Daughter': Panelists]

bbc documentary

The central government told the court that the excerpts of documentary contained an interview with one of the convicted rapists of the December 16 gang rape case and his "chauvinistic and derogatory views" regarding women in general and the victim in particular.

Appearing for the central government, advocate Monica Arora brought the original documents of the ministry of home affairs that ordered the ban.

A division bench of Chief Justice G. Rohini and Justice R.S. Endlaw hearing the plea posted the matter for May 27 and said: "It's not a matter for any interim order. We have called records from government, we will see them first."

The court earlier refused to lift the ban and asked the trial court to submit the records and advisory issued on March 3 by the government while hearing the two public interest litigations (PILs) before it for revocation of the ban on the documentary's telecast.

The ministry of information and broadcasting filed an affidavit and sought dismissal of the pleas. [BBC 'deliberately' removed West's rape statistics from film?]

"The excerpts of documentary contained an interview with one of the convicted rapists of the Delhi gang rape victim of December 2012. These excerpts were telecast on various channels throughout the day, with visuals of the convict, who was showing no remorse whatsoever for the heinous act. The excerpts also contained his chauvinistic and derogatory views regarding women in general and the victim in particular," it said.

It said that the telecast of documentary will provide a platform for the convict to use the media to further his own case, especially when his appeal against his conviction is sub-judice. The appeals of convicts are pending before the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court in July last year put on hold the execution of the four convicts in the case.

"The telecast of these excerpts appeared to encourage and incite violence against women, thus compromising women's public safety. They also provide encouragement to anti-social elements to indulge in violent acts compromising law and order," said the affidavit.

The documentary is about the gang rape of a 23-year-old trainee physiotherapist, who was brutally assaulted on December 16, 2012, in a moving bus in Delhi. It kicked up a storm after one of the convicts, Mukesh Singh, was interviewed in Delhi's Tihar Jail.

The documentary also has comments from the convicts' counsel A.P. Singh and M.L. Sharma, who allegedly made derogatory remarks against women.

The ban on the telecast of the documentary in all formats caused an uproar in India.

The PILs said the ban on the documentary was in clear violation of fundamental rights under Article 19 of the Constitution.

They sought direction to declare as illegal the act of banning the documentary by the home ministry, the information and broadcasting ministry, and the Delhi Police commissioner.

The Centre on March 3 issued an advisory to ban the broadcast of the documentary and the trial court on March 4 banned it until further orders. [FIR filed over screening of India's Daughter]

As per social media, the public at large wanted to see the documentary, as within a day of it being put up on YouTube it was viewed by more 2.86 lakh people, the pleas said.

IANS

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