HC Lifts ban on Telecast of Assamese Serial ‘Begum-Jaan’

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The Gauhati High Court upturned a ban imposed on an Assamese TV serial ‘Begum-Jaan’ last month and allowed to re-telecast as long as it doesn’t hurt the religious sentiments of the people.

A single judge bench headed by Justice Suman Shyam, acting on a petition by AM Television and its managing director Sanjeev Narain lifted the two-month ban imposed by Guwahati police commissioner MP Gupta. The serial telecasts on Rengoni TV.

Based on four complaints from Hindu Jagaran Manch that the serial hurt religious sentiments and used content derogatory towards one religion, the police commissioner had banned it on August 24 for two months and issued a show cause notice to AM Television, a report stated.

The report further said that the complainants had alleged that the serial promoted ‘love jihad’. The charge was denied 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 issued on recommendation of a monitoring committee, the petitioners informed the court that the order violated guidelines issued by Government of India as the committee didn’t include a representative from electronic media.

The petitioners also informed the court that while the GoI guidelines require hearing versions of both parties before such a ban is imposed, in the present case it was not followed and the petitioners were not provided copies of the complaints or given a chance to air their views.

After examining records, the court found both contentions of the petitioners to be true and castigated the police commissioner for issuing the ban without following laid down guidelines.

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