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Will stay on Sudarshan TV show have ‘chilling effect’ on free speech: SC

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New Delhi, Sep 21 : The Supreme Court on Monday queried the parties, opposing the telecast of Sudarshan News’ controversial programme on the alleged infiltration of Muslims in the civil services, whether a blanket injunction could be issued, and would it have a “chilling effect” on free speech?

A bench comprising Justices D.Y. Chandrachud, Indu Malhotra and K.M. Joseph posed the query to advocate Shadan Farasat, who was representing three Jamia Millia Islamia students, seeking injunction against the show.

Justice Chandrachud said: “This issue is – what should be the nature of an injunction? Whether it would be a blanket injunction and if the court does it, would it also injunct protected speech?”

The bench also asked whether the court could restrict such an injunction only to an extent.

Farasat argued the question is whether a restricted injunction, limited in nature, would be effective or not.

The bench asked Farasat to first establish the focus of the programme was hate speech directed at a particular community.

“The Editor-in-Chief (of Sudarshan News) says there is foreign funding in this organisation (Zakat Foundation of India), surely public interest is attracted… he could be right or wrong,” noted the bench, adding that he has the right to his opinion, in connection with foreign funding of a foundation.

Justice Chandrachud said if the Zakat Foundation feels the content of the programme is defamatory, then they could avail civil remedies or enforce damages etc. “But here hate speech needs to be seen as targeting specific pockets of a community,” he said.

Advocate Sai Deepak, representing intervenors OpIndia, Indic Collective Trust and Upword Foundation, argued before the bench that the top court would want to consider that there is a question of the chilling effect of an order and what example does it make for future orders.

Justice Chandrachud replied: “We agree with you. We are extremely concerned about the balance between speech and right to dignity. Here, the community is a large amorphous group and we cannot ask them to take a civil remedy.”

Farasat contended before the bench each and every episode of the TV programme is a violation of the programme code, as the theme is that the participation of Muslims in civil service and in Parliament is a threat and they are about to take over the country.

The bench also noted that what could the court prohibit in an order. “… cannot say do not have men in green t-shirts and beards, then this will go into specifics. We cannot go into specifics… we cannot go too far,” it said.

The top court will continue hearing the matter on Wednesday.

The Zakat Foundation has also moved the apex court seeking to intervene in the matter and claimed the channel is “cherry-picking facts from publicly accessible documents on the internet and drawing unsustainable inference therefrom”.

(Sumit Saxena can be contacted at [email protected])

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Failing to pay property tax by Oct 31 may land Gurugram property owners in trouble

Charitable educational institutions, charitable hospitals and special schools for children, which charge the same fees as government schools and hospitals, are given a 100 per cent exemption.

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Gurugram: Property owners in Gurugram can lose their water and sewage connections if they fail to clear their property tax dues by October 31, officials of the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG) said on Wednesday.

According to the MCG officials, as per the notification issued by the Haryana government, only three days are left to avail the benefit of exemption in the payment of property tax issued by the MCG.

According to the notification, the government is giving an interest waiver and 25 per cent rebate to those paying their entire property tax dues by October 31.

“We have given a last opportunity to the property owners to pay their dues within the next three days. If they still do not pay their property tax, the process of cutting their sewer and drinking water connections will be initiated by the civic authority from November 1,” MCG Commissioner Vinay Pratap Singh said.

“A special drive to seal commercial buildings will be carried out and the process of auction can also be adopted by sealing the building,” he added.

As per the government notification, property owners who deposit their entire outstanding property tax by October 31 will be given a 25 per cent exemption on property tax from 2010-11 to 2016-17.

“Property owners who have deposited their property tax in the last three years till October 31, will be given an additional 10 per cent rebate along with the regular 10 per cent rebate. Those paying by auto debit mode will get the benefit of an additional 5 per cent discount,” an MCG official said.

Charitable educational institutions, charitable hospitals and special schools for children, which charge the same fees as government schools and hospitals, are given a 100 per cent exemption.

The officials further informed that the civic body has also started an incentive scheme for all the resident welfare associations (RWAs) of the city. Municipal corporations will give an incentive amount of Rs 5 lakh to the RWAs which submit property tax of more than 80 per cent.

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21-year-old woman raped in Gurugram

“The victim is not in a condition to record her statement. The statement of the victim will be taken only after clearance from the doctors, he said.

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Rape Sexual Violence

Gurugram : A 21-year-old woman, admitted at Fortis hospital in Sector-44 on October 21 due to breathing problems, was allegedly raped by a man when she was unconscious during the treatment from October 21 to 27.

The victim’s father reported the matter to the police on October 27 when she regained her consciousness and revealed her ordeal to her father.

She reportedly handed a three-page letter to her father and accused a man identified as Vikas.

Whether the accused is a hospital staff or not is yet to be known.

An FIR has been registered in connection with the incident at Sushant Lok police Station on Wednesday.

After receiving the complaint, the police rushed to the hospital to take the woman’s statement, but the doctors said that the woman was not in a condition to give the statement.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (east) Maqsood Ahmad said that the matter is being investigated. The record of the hospital, CCTV footage are being scanned.

“The victim is not in a condition to record her statement. The statement of the victim will be taken only after clearance from the doctors, he said.

“The case is being investigated. The parents of the woman do not even know whether the accused is an employee of hospital or not. We are also questioning the hospital management about the incident. The situation will be clear only after the woman gives her statement. Further investigation is on,” the DCP added.

According to the police the victim is a residen of Mahendragarh district and suffering from tuberculosis. Due to breathing problems, she was placed on a ventilator.

The victim’s urged the police to carry out a medical test of his daughter.

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ED attaches 21 properties of Andhra businessman

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Enforcement Directorate

New Delhi, Oct 28 (IANS): The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday said it has attached 21 immovable properties and bank balance of a businessman from Andhra Pradesh in a bank fraud case.

The assets worth Rs 7.57 crore of businessman Polepalli Venkata Prasad and his family members have been attached.

The ED in a statement said that it attached the assets, including a deposit of Rs 50 lakh with an ARC firm, namely Meliora Asset Reconstruction Company under the provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act. The attached assets are located in Tanuku, West Godavari District of Andhra Pradesh.

The ED registered a case of money laundering on the basis of an FIR filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) against Prasad, Managing Partner of the PBR Poultry Tech and other partners for defrauding the Indian Overseas Bank, Veerabhadrapuram branch in West Godavari District.

It said during the investigation, it was revealed that the PBR Poultry Tech had availed a term loan of Rs 5.60 crore from the Indian Overseas Bank by grossly inflating the value of the mortgaged properties in collusion with Panel Advocates.

It also alleged that Prasad also obtained credit guarantee fund trust for the micro and small enterprises (CGTMSE) loans in the name of his associates to the tune of Rs 1.74 crore.

The ED alleged that the loan amounts were diverted and not repaid causing a loss of Rs 7.34 crore to the bank.

“When the accused could not get more loan from this firm, they set up another shell firm for obtaining loan,” it said.

The ED said that investigation also revealed that the accused availed term loan of Rs 6.73 crore and cash credit of Rs 3.2 crore in the name of a shell company named PBR Agritech Private Limited from the Andhra Bank, Venkatayapuram Branch in Tanuku, by again inflating the value of the mortgaged properties in collusion with the panel advocates.

“These loans were taken on the pretext of construction of a poultry shed, but instead the money was siphoned off and diverted to the main accused, who in turn used this money to introduce share capital and machinery in PBR Poultry Tech.

“The Andhra Bank loan has also become NPA,” the ED said, adding that thus, Prasad generated total proceeds of crime worth Rs 17.27 crore.

It said that investigation further revealed that the accused are trying to use the concealed proceeds of crime available with them to buy-back their mortgaged properties by doing private deals with the ARC firm.

“This way they will be able to buy these assets at discounted prices and that too from the defrauded loan money,” it added.

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