HC refuses plea to lift ban on airing BBC gangrape documentary

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court today declined an interim prayer of a law student seeking lifting of ban on telecasting the controversial BBC documentary on the December 16 gangrape case convict’s interview.

A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw also observed that the Information and Broadcasting Ministry has opposed airing of the documentary as it can “encourage and incite violence against women and thus compromise women safety”.

“It is not a matter for interim relief. So we cannot grant the same at this stage. We have called for the original record, which has been produced before this court by the concerned ministry. We will go through it and then take up the matter,” the bench said and listed the matter for further hearing on May 27.

The court declined interim relief on the request made by three law students to lift the ban on airing of the documentary on the ground that it is “a look at the mindset of one of the convicted rapists”.

It was hearing two PILs filed by the students — Vibhor Anand, Arun Menon and Kritika Padode, seeking lifting of the ban on the documentary’s broadcast.

Opposing the request, government’s standing counsel Monika Arora said the petitions should be dismissed by imposing cost on the petitioners.

“It is stated that it had come to the notice of the Ministry that a number of private channels had been showing certain excerpts of a programme titled ‘India’s daughter’ which was proposed to be telecast by the BBC and a private news channel.

“The excerpts contained an interview with one of the convicted rapists of the Delhi gangrape victim of December 2012… This programme also provided a platform for the convict to use the media to further his own case, especially when his appeal the conviction is sub-judice.

“The telecast of these excerpts appeared to encouarge and incite violence against women and thus compromising women’s public safety. They also provide encouragement to anti-social elements who indulge in violent acts compromising law and order,” Arora said while referring to an affidavit filed by the Ministry in the court.