Ban on BBC documentary to continue till April 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 and asked the central government to place before it the advisory issued by it to prohibit exhibition of the documentary.

New Delhi: 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 and asked the central government to place before it the advisory issued by it to prohibit exhibition of the documentary.

A division bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice RS Endlaw posted for April 15 the two public interest litigations (PILs) before it for revocation of the ban on the documentary's telecast.

"Place before this court the advisory issued on March 3 by the ministry of information and broadcasting," said the bench.

A different bench had earlier declined to immediately revoke the ban on the telecast of the documentary. It said it has "no problem" about airing the documentary but the case (appeals of the convicts against death sentence) was pending before the Supreme Court.

It has also observed that media trials tend to influence judges by subconsciously creating pressure.

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 AP Singh and ML Sharma, who allegedly made derogatory remarks against women. The banning of 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 had on March 4 banned it until further orders.

The pleas also sought direction for the Supreme Court registry to constitute a three-judge special bench to hear the appeals of the four death row convicts, pending since August 25, 2014.

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

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