Documentary ban may not stand legal scrutiny

It takes away the public’s right to know, says Supreme Court advocate Madhavi Goradia Divan

Updated - November 16, 2021 05:15 pm IST

Published - March 07, 2015 12:13 am IST - NEW DELHI

The government’s decision to ban the BBC documentary on the December 16, 2012 gang rape in Delhi, India’s Daughter , both in the media and on the Internet, and file an FIR against unknown persons may not be based on sound principles of law, legal experts have said.

The former Attorney-General of India Soli J. Sorabjee said the filing of the FIR was “hasty” and it would not sustain in a court of law. “No useful purpose is gained by shoving harsh reality under the carpet,” he said.

Legal experts said the ban based on a court injunction order could be challenged on the ground that it took away the public’s right to know.

“If the content is of such grave public importance, general public interest to view the documentary may override the government decision to ban. Members of the public and social organisations could intervene for the removal of the injunction,” said media law expert and Supreme Court lawyer Madhavi Goradia Divan.

“If truth is offensive, deal with it,” said Rajya Sabha member and senior lawyer K.T.S Tulsi. “This ostrich-like approach to danger will not save our women from sexual violence. The documentary offers a peep into a criminal mind. Its intention is not to glorify him, but to expose him and his mindset to society,” Mr. Tulsi said.

Showing the documentary was all the more important now. “A loosely worded law against rape was hastily passed after the gang rape, but crime against women has increased by 27 per cent after that.”

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