IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

 


Civil Appeal No. 613 of 2005
Decided On: 25.08.2006

Appellants: Director General, Directorate General of Doordarshan and Ors.
Vs
Respondent: Anand Patwardhan and Anr.

Hon’ble Judges:
AR. Lakshmanan and Lokeshwar Singh Panta, JJ.

Subject: Constitution

Acts/Rules/Orders:
Cinematographic Act, 1952; Constitution of India – Article 19, 19(1) and
19(2); Indian Penal Code – Sections 292 and 293

Cases Referred:
Samaresh Bose and Anr. v. Amal Mitra and Anr. (1985) 4 SCC 284; K.A. Abbas
v. The Union of India and Anr. MANU/SC/0053/1970; Ramesh v. Union of India
MANU/SC/0404/1988; Bobby Art International and Ors. v. Om Pal Singh Hoon and
Ors. MANU/SC/0466/1996; LIC of India v. Prof. Manubhai D. Shah with UOI v.
Cinemart Foundation MANU/SC/0032/1993; S. Rangarajan v. P. Jagjivan Ram and
Ors. MANU/SC/0475/1989

Disposition:
Appeal dismissed

JUDGMENT

AR. Lakshmanan, J.

1. The appellant in the present matter is Doordarshan who have decided not
to telecast the documentary film made by the respondent titled “Father, son
and Holy War”. The respondent is a filmmaker. The respondent No. 1 in 1995
submitted his documentary film, “Father, son and Holy War”, to the appellant
for telecast on National network Doordarshan. Respondent No. 1 was to
provide a U-matic Certificate for the same to be aired by Doordarshan. The
documentary film was in two parts, the film dealt with social realities and
issues such as patriarchy, violence, fundamentalism, suppression of women
etc. Part-I was given ‘U’ Certificate and Part-II was given ‘A’ Certificate
by the Censor Board.

2. A few lines about the film and the producer: Father, Son and Holy War is
the third part of a trilogy of documentary films against communal violence
that the author made from the mid 1980′s to the mid 1990′s. His two earlier
films In Memory of Friends (1990) (on building communal peace in strife torn
Punjab) and Ram Ke Naam/In the Name of God (1992) (on the Ayodhya crisis)
looked at the question of class and caste. Both films won National Awards
but both were rejected by Doordarshan on the grounds that they would create
law and order problems. In the end, the author won the cases in the High
Court and the films were finally telecast by Doordarshan. No law and order
problems resulted and the telecasts were well received. Father, Son and Holy
War (1995) was also shot during this period. It looks at the question of
gender along with the issue of religious violence. What triggered this way
of looking was the incident of Sati in Deorala and that fact that thousands
of young men were celebrating the death of Roop Kanwar. This led the author
to examine the male psyche behind violence and the idea that women were
property. It is common knowledge that very often sexual violence against
women accompanies communal riots. This may be because the “enemy’s” women
are seen as his property and so, worthy of abduction or destruction. The
first part of Father, Son and Holy War (“Trial by Fire”) looks at the
problems faced by Hindu and Muslim women within their own religions. Part 2
(Hero Pharmacy) examines the construction of the values of “manhood”. As the
film proceeds we become privy to the inner psyche of men and begin to learn
how men are socialized into believing that violence is desirable. The film
looks at the rhetoric of street sellers of aphrodisiac who create feelings
of male insecurity and impotence in t heir audience and then offer their
cheap medicine as a cure. It then looks at the rhetoric of communal
politicians (both Hindus and Muslims) and see that they too are appealing
largely to their male audiences, they too are taunting them for their
impotence, but the medicine they offer for the creation of “real men” is
hatred against the other community.

3. On 14.8.1996, the appellant issued a circular which stated that
Doordarshan will not telecast any ‘A’ certified adult or U/A feature film on
it. On 28.2.1997, the respondent handed over a copy of the U-matic
Certificate of the documentary film to the appellant. However, Doordarshan
still refused to telecast the documentary film. On 22.9.1998, the respondent
No. 1, filed a writ petition before the Bombay High Court against the
refusal of Doordarshan to telecast the documentary film, which was disposed
off by the Division Bench by directing Doordarshan to take a decision on the
application of respondent no. 1 within a period of six weeks.

4. A selection Committee was constituted on 10.8.1998 by the appellant to
preview the documentary film produced by respondent no. 1. The selection
Committee observed that, “The documentary entitled ‘Father, Son & Holy War’
depicts the rise of Hindu fundamentalism and male chauvinism without giving
any solution how it could be checked. The violence and hatred which is
depicted in the whole documentary will have an adverse effect on the minds
of the viewers ” This decision of the Selection Committee was communicated
to the respondents on 20.8.1998.Against this the respondent no. 1 approached
Bombay High Court. A Division Bench of the Bombay High Court allowed the
writ and directed the appellant to telecast the respondent no. 1 documentary
film “Father, son and the Holy War” within a period of six weeks in the
evening slot. This decision by the High Court was challenged by the
appellant by way of a Special Leave Petition in this Court. This Court
observed that, the Committee which was constituted to consider the proposal
of the respondent was not validly constituted as required under the
guidelines of Doordarshan and therefore the decision taken by the Committee
was without jurisdiction. This Court went ahead to order on 12.12.2001 the
constitution of a new Committee in accordance with para 5(ii) of the
Guidelines of Doordarshan to consider the proposal of the respondent within
three months of the constitution of such Committee.

5. A Committee was duly constituted and on 6.8.2002, the committee viewed
the documentary film and was of the opinion that, “the film has a secular
message relevant to our times and our society however, the film contains
scenes and speeches, which can influence negative passions and the committee
would like a larger committee with representatives of religion and politics
also to see the film and form an opinion before it is open to public
viewing.” A larger committee was constituted and viewed the documentary
film. The said committee on 5.6.2003 recommended the screening of this
documentary film on Doordarshan while observing that, “it may alienate
sections of Indian society and screening may lead to reactions by organized
groups.

6. On 11.7.2003, the Prasar Bharati Board pre-viewed the documentary film
and was of the opinion that the documentary film contained scenes which
could promote violence, its production quality was unsatisfactory and its
telecast would be violative of the policy of the Doordarshan of not
screening “A” certified movies. This decision of Doordarshan was
communicated to the respondent no. 1 on 18.7.2003. A contempt petition was
filed by respondent no. 1 alleging the disobedience of the order of the High
Court dated 12.12.2001. The High Court disposed off the petition by holding
that the respondent was aggrieved of the decision of Prasar Bharati Board,
and it was open to him to challenge the same before an appropriate forum.
The respondent filed a writ petition in the Bombay High Court and directed
Doordarshan to exhibit the documentary film of the respondent no. 1,
” Father, son and Holy War” on channel I or II within 12 weeks from the date
of the judgment on a convenient day and time as fixed by Doordarshan. It is
against this decision of the High Court of Bombay the Doordarshan has come
on appeal to this Court.

7. We heard Mr. Rajeev Sharma, learned Counsel appearing for the appellants
and Mr. Prashant Bhushan, learned Counsel appearing for the respondent. We
have viewed the screening of the documentary film titled “Father, son and
the Holy War” which is the subject matter of the present case before us. We
have also carefully perused all the documents presented by both the parties
before us. Mr. Rajeev Sharma, learned Counsel appearing for the Doordarshan
submitted that the decision not to telecast the film of the respondent is
based on valid and germane considerations and no film maker can claim that
he has a vested right that a film made by him must be telecast on
Doordarshan. He submitted that as a matter of policy the Doordarshan do not
telecast films which are certified as “A” or “UA”. Admittedly Part one of
the film in question has been certified as “U” and Part two as “A”. The
policy of Doordarshan of not telecasting “A” or “UA” films has not been
challenged by the respondent here. Therefore, the Doordarshan cannot be
directed to telecast the film contrary to its policy. Learned Counsel also
submitted that the telecast of the film is likely to give rise to communal
violence and riots and that Doordarshan has reached the remote corners of
the country. It has a wide audience which mainly consists of illiterate and
average persons who will be largely affected due to screening of the film.

8. Mr. Prashant Bhushan, learned Counsel appearing on behalf of the
respondent submitted that the refusal by Prasar bharti to telecast the film
is a clear violation of the respondent’s fundamental right under Article
19(1)(a) of the Constitution. He urged that the film carries a strong
message for unity and secular India and there is no justification to prevent
its telecast on Doordarshan. It is submitted that the Doordarshan has a
policy of telecasting award winning films and documentaries and the action
of the Doordarshan in refusing to screen the film contrary to the said
policy is totally unfair, unjust and arbitrary. Learned Counsel further
submitted that the Censor Board has approved the film and the guidelines of
Doordarshan in telecasting the film cannot be substantially different from
the guidelines laid down under the Cinematographic Act, 1952. In any event,
according to the learned Counsel unless the said guidelines are read down
they would be liable to be strucked down as grossly violating the
fundamental rights guaranteed by Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution.

9. In view of the rival submissions, the following substantial questions of
law arise for adjudication by this Court.

(a) Whether any film producer has a right to insist that his film must
be shown on Doordarshan?

(b) Whether the High Court was justified in directing the screening of
the film certified as U/A. Notwithstanding the fact as a matter of policy,
Doordarshan does not telecast adult film?

(c) Whether the policy of Doordarshan of not telecasting adult movies
can be said to be violative of Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution of India
as has been held by the High Court?

(d) Whether or not it is open to the High Court to substitute its
opinion for that of the competent authority as to whether a film is fit for
being telecast on a public medium such as Doordarshan?

10. In the instant case, the documentary of the respondent has been cleared
by the Central Board for Film Certification, the Film Certification Board,
which is a body of experts was obviously not of the view that the film
promotes communal violence, otherwise, the film would not have been
certified by the Board for public exhibition. In view of this background, we
are unable to appreciate the view taken by the Prasarbharti Board.

11. The film of the respondent no doubt deals with the communal violence. At
the same time, we also listen to a stirring speech made by a woman activist
on a street who exhorts people to “remember their neighbours” during
communal riots. The film contains a narrative of a muslim woman, a social
worker who has been raped by the communal murderers of her husband and that
of a Hindu mill worker whose children were killed in the bomb blast which
occurred in the aftermath of the communal riots. The attempt of the film
maker is to portray the miseries of the innocent victims of the communal
riots. These sequences convey an obvious message of communal harmony as an
ordinary muslim slum dweller is seen in the closing sequences of the film
re-building the destroyed home of his Hindu neighbour. The message of the
filmmaker cannot be gathered by viewing only certain portions of the film in
isolation but one has to view it as a whole. There are scenes of violence,
social injustices but the film by no stretch of imagination can be said to
subscribe to the same. They are meant to convey that such social evils are
evil. There cannot be any apprehension that it is likely to affect public
order or it is likely to incite commission of an offence. We are shocked at
the observation of the Prasar Bharati Board that the film is not suitable
due to unsatisfactory production quality and that the film has nothing
specific to convey in public interest. The documentary was given two awards
in 42nd National Film Festival of 1995 conducted by the Ministry of
Information and Broadcasting, Government of India as Best Investigative Film
and Best film on social issues. It is, therefore, highly irrational and
incorrect to say that the documentary which was selected as best
investigative film and best film on social issues promote violence and its
production quality was unsatisfactory and that the film has no specific
message to convey. The documentary has won several awards in the
International film festivals. However, the Prasar Bharati Board strangely
comments that the film had nothing specific to convey in public interest.
This view of the Prasar Bharati is in contrast with the opinion expressed by
the two committees constituted by the appellants. The first committee held
that the film had a secular message relevant to our times and our society
and it was a critique of the current concept of masculinity and the violence
it legitimises. The second committee said that it was a very good film and
must be shown. Ordinarily the decision of the selection committee in all
cases shall be final as per para 5(viii) of the guidelines laid down by the
Ministry of Information and Broadcasting for telecasting films. However, it
appears that the appellants were bent upon rejecting the film and the
decision of the committee was overruled by the Prasar Bharati Board under
the pretext that the guidelines prohibit Doordarshan from exhibiting any
film which is granted ‘A’ certificate and since part II i.e. Hero Pharmacy
has been granted ‘A’ certificate telecast of the said film is not permitted
under the guidelines framed by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

12. In the instant case, the guidelines relied upon by the Doordarshan are
not even framed under the Cinematograph Act but they are merely internal
guidelines for the guidance of the officials of the Doordarshan. Therefore,
in our view, it would not be proper to deny telecast of an award winning
documentary merely on the ground that part II of the said documentary is
certified as “A” by the Censor Board. In our view, a documentary cannot be
denied exhibition on Doordarshan simply on account of it’s “A” certification
or “UA” certification. Mr. Rajeev Sharma made an attempt to object to
certain scenes in the documentary especially one scene where a person is
seen selling aphrodiscies on the road and while doing so is making certain
remarks on the sexuality of males. As indicated in paragraphs supra, a film
must be judged from an average, healthy and common sense point of view. If
the said yardstick is applied and the film is judged in its entirety and
keeping in view the manner in which the filmmaker has handled the theme, it
is impossible to agree that those scenes are offended by vulgarity and
obscenity. It is interesting to note that these objections were not even
raised by any of the committees constituted for the purpose of assessing the
film.

OBSERVATIONS:

13. One of the most controversial issues is balancing the need to protect
society against the potential harm that may flow from obscene material, and
the need to ensure respect for freedom of expression and to preserve a free
flow of information and idea. The Constitution guarantees freedom of
expression but in Article 19(2) it also makes it clear that the State may
impose reasonable restriction in the interest of public decency and
morality. The crucial question therefore, is, ‘what is obscenity?’ The law
relating to obscenity is laid down in Section 292 of the Indian Penal Code,
which came about, by Act 36 of 1969. Under the present Section 292 and
Section 293 of the Indian Penal Code, there is a danger of publication meant
for public good or for bona fide purpose of science, literature, art or any
other branch of learning being declared as obscene literature as there is no
specific provision in the act for exempting them from operations of those
sections. The present provision is so vague that it becomes difficult to
apply it. The purposeful omission of the definition of obscenity has led to
attack of Section 292 of the Indian penal Code as being too vague to qualify
as a penal provision. It is quite unclear what the provisions mean. This
unacceptably large ‘grey area’, common in laws restricting sexual material,
would appear to result not from a lack of capacity or effort on the part of
drafters or legislators. The Indian Penal Code on obscenity grew out of the
English Law, which made court the guardian of public morals. It is important
that where bodies exercise discretion, which may interfere in the enjoyment
of constitutional rights, that discretion must be subject to adequate law.
The effect of provisions granting broad discretionary regulatory powers is
unforeseeable and they are open to arbitrary abuse.

14. In Samaresh Bose and Anr. v. Amal Mitra and Anr. (1985) 4 SCC 284 it was
observed by this Court: “The concept of obscenity is moulded to a very great
extent by the social outlook of the people who are generally expected to
read the book. It is beyond dispute that the concept of obscenity usually
differs from country to country depending on the standards of morality of
contemporary society in different countries. In our opinion, in judging the
question of obscenity, the Judge in the first place should try to place
himself in the position of the author and from the viewpoint of the author.
The judge should thereafter place himself in the position of a reader of
every age group in whose hands the book is likely to fall and should try to
appreciate what kind of possible influence the book is likely to have in the
minds of the readers. The judge should thereafter apply his judicial mind
dispassionately to decide whether the book in question can be said to be
obscene within the meaning of Section 292, IPC by an objective assessment of
the book as a whole and also of the passages complained of as obscene
separately.” This is one of the few liberal judgments the courts have given.
The point to worry about is the power given to the judge to decide what
he/she thinks is obscene. This essentially deposits on the Supreme Court of
India, the responsibility to define obscenity and classify matters coming on
media as obscene or otherwise. This Court has time and again adopted the
test of obscenity laid down by Cockburn CJ. The test of obscenity is,
‘whether the tendency of the matter charged as obscenity is to deprave and
corrupt those whose minds are open to such immoral influences, and in whose
hands a publication in media of this sort may fall.’

15. Interestingly, this test of obscenity, which was laid down in the
Hicklin case in 1869, is the only test in India to determine obscenity. The
Encyclopedia definition of obscenity states, ‘By English law it is an
indictable misdemeanor to show an obscene exhibition or to publish any
obscene matter, whether it be writing or by pictures, effigy or otherwise.’
The precise meaning of “obscene” is, however, decidedly ambiguous. It has
been defined as something offensive to modesty or decency, or expressing or
suggesting unchaste or lustful ideas or being impure, indecent or lewd”. In
the United States, obscene material is any material or performance, if: the
average person applying contemporary community standards would find that the
subject matter taken as a whole appeals to the prurient interest; the
subject matter depicts or describes in a patently offensive way, sexual
conduct of a type described in this section; and the subject matter, taken
as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, educational or
scientific value.

Therefore, one can observe that, the basic guidelines for the tier of fact
must be:

(a) whether ” the average person, applying contemporary community
standards” would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the
prurient interest.;

(b) whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way,
sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law; and

(c) whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic
political, or scientific value.

16. The Constitution of India guarantees everyone the right to freedom of
expression. India is also a party to the International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights and therefore bound to respect the right to freedom of
expression guaranteed by Article 19 thereof, which states:

1. Everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference.

2. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right
shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of
all kinds regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in
form of art, or through any other media of his choice.

This right guaranteed by the Indian constitution is subject to various
restrictions. Like, respect of the rights or reputation of others;
protection of national security or of public order, or of public health or
morals etc. The catchword here is ‘reasonable restriction’ which corresponds
to the societal norms of decency. In the present matter, the documentary
film Father, Son and Holy War depicts social vices that are eating into the
very foundation of our Constitutional. Communal riots, caste and class
issues and violence against women are issues that require every citizen’s
attention for a feasible solution. Only the citizens especially the youth of
our Nation who are correctly informed can arrive at a correct solution. This
documentary film in our considered opinion showcases a real picture of crime
and violence against women and members of various religious groups
perpetrated by politically motivated leaders for political, social and
personal gains.

17. This film so far as our opinion goes does not violate any Constitutional
provision nor will create any law and order problems as the Doordarshan
fears. This movie falls well within the limits prescribed by our
Constitution and does not appeal to the prurient interests in an average
person, applying contemporary community standards while taking the work as a
whole, the work is not patently offensive and does not proceed to deprave
and corrupt any average Indian citizen’s mind.

18. In addition we are emphasizing here on the fact that many Committees
have screened this documentary film including a committee set up by the
appellants themselves involving media experts, representatives of various
religions and politics, who have opined that, “It is a very good film and
must be shown. It may alienate sections of Indian society and screening may
lead to reactions by organized groups. In the unanimous view of the
committee that protest is an important part of Indian democracy and was a
part of its fight for independence, which is also a compelling reason for
the film to be shown. Keeping these in mind the committee recommends that
the screening of the film be preceded by a discussion in which alternative
views are given by persons with different views.” As we see, only
Doordarshan has an opposition with airing the documentary film stating
policy related difficulties. To this we are of the view that, since the
Central Board of Film Certification has already cleared the documentary film
in question by award of U/A certificate, the policy of Doordarshan of
non-telecast of ‘A’ certified films will not stand on the way of this film
being aired. A blanket ban as this one will be in violation of Article 19(2)
of the Constitution which guarantees right of a citizen to express
himself/herself. The Supreme Court has clarified on this regard way back in
1970, in the case of K.A. Abbas v. The Union of India and Anr.
MANU/SC/0053/1970 where this Court held that, “Sex and obscenity are not
always synonymous and it is wrong to classify sex as essentially obscene or
even indecent or immoral.” In yet another case of Ramesh v. Union of India
MANU/SC/0404/1988 this Court has observed that, “…that the effect of the
words must be judged from the standards of reasonable, strong minded, firm
and courageous men, and not those of weak and vacillating minds, nor of
those who scent danger in every hostile point of view. This, in our opinion,
is the correct approach in judging the effect of exhibition of a film or of
reading a book. It is the standard of ordinary reasonable man or as they say
in English law “the man on the top of Claapham omnibus”.

19. Hence, in our view, the correct approach to be taken here is to look at
the documentary film as a whole and not in bits, as any message that is
purported to be conveyed by way of a film cannot be conveyed just by
watching certain bits of the film. In the present situation the documentary
film is seeking to portray certain evils prevalent in our society and is not
seeking to cater to the prurient interests in any person. Therefore, we have
no hesitation in saying that this documentary film if judged in its entirety
has a theme and message to convey and the view taken by the appellants that
the film is not suitable for telecast is erroneous. In this regard, the
guidelines issued by the Central Government to evaluate films gain
importance and can be referred to. Clause 3 of the Guidelines reads as
follows: “Clause 3: The Board of Film Certification shall also ensure that
the film:

(i) is judged in its entirety from the point of the overall impact; and

(ii) is examined in the light of the period depicted in the film and the
contemporary standards of the country and the people to which the film
relates, provided that the film does not deprave the morality of the
audience.

20. It was held in Bobby Art International and Ors. v. Om Pal Singh Hoon and
Ors. MANU/SC/0466/1996, K A Abbas (Supra) that a film was required to be
viewed as a whole, and in the context of the message that the filmmaker
desired to communicate. In this film too, scenes must be seen in the context
of the message of exploitation of women through insecurities created in men
and the film must be evaluated in its entirety. In LIC of India v. Prof.
Manubhai D. Shah with UOI v. Cinemart Foundation MANU/SC/0032/1993, it was
held that merely because a film was critical of the State Government, DD
could not deny selection and publication of the film. This film was an award
winning film about the Bhopal Gas Tragedy. Likewise, in S. Rangarajan v. P.
Jagjivan Ram and Ors. MANU/SC/0475/1989, it has been observed that Censors
should not have an orthodox or conservative outlook, but must be responsive
to change and must go with the current climate. The state cannot prevent
open discussion, however hateful to its policies. This was about a film that
criticized the existing reservation policy and proposed an alternative
system based on economic deprivation.

We also are aware that the documentary film made by respondent no. 1 has won
many National and International awards. The documentary film won National
Awards in two categories viz “Best Investigative Film” and “Best Film on
Social Issues” in the 42nd National Film Festival 1995, conducted by the
Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. The documentary film also won
Special Jury Award in Israel, Japan and Canada. Keeping these facts in view
we find it absurd that a documentary film that has won the National award is
facing problems for it being screened on the National Television.

CONCLUSION:

21. In our opinion, the respondent has a right to convey his perception on
the oppression of women, flawed understanding of manhood and evils of
communal violence through the documentary film produced by him. As already
noticed, this film has won awards for best investigative film and best film
on social issues at the national level. The documentary film has won several
awards at the international level as well. The freedom of expression, which
is legitimate and constitutionally protected, cannot be held to ransom on a
mere fall of a hat. The film in its entirety has a serious message to convey
and is relevant in the present context. Doordarshan being a State controlled
agency funded by public funds could not have denied access to screen the
respondent’s documentary except on specified valid grounds.

22. The refusal of the appellants to telecast the film in the current case
in the face of unanimous recommendations by their own Committees set up in
accordance to the direction of this Court is an issue to be addressed apart.
The High Court of Bombay has not substituted its discretion for that of the
authorities. On the contrary, the High Court has ruled that when the
decision making process has itself resulted in the recommendations to
telecast; it is not open to the Doordarshan to find other means just to
circumvent this recommendation. The High Court has only corrected the
failure of Doordarshan to follow through with their own decision making
process on the pretext of a Circular which being non-statutory cannot be
used to limit right of expression. Besides the Circular, in terms, applies
only to feature films and not to documentaries. Before ruling thus, the High
Court viewed the film for itself which is a process followed innumerable
times before even by this Court in cases concerning the official media to
satisfy itself the recommendations of the Expert Committee was not patently
absurd. Thus, it is not a case where the High Court has substituted its
judgment for that of the decision-making authority but one where the
decision made by due process has been upheld by the High Court. In our view,
the Doordarshan being a National Channel controls airwaves, which are public
property. The right of the people to be informed calls for channelizing and
streamlining Doordarshan’s control over the national telecast media vehicle.

23. We also are of the view that, Doordarshan all through the present matter
has been displaying a sad reluctance in telecasting this film, which was
made almost ten years ago. We can trace a history of Doordarshan not
telecasting many films in spite of them being award winning films at the
national and international level, this can be seen in the case of films like
” In Memory of Friends”, “Ram ke Naam” etc. In addition an interesting
observation that can be arrived is that Doordarshan has been finding flimsy
excuses time and again as clear from the facts in not telecasting the
documentary film in question every time the film was sought to be aired
either at the instance of the respondent or due to the orders of the court.
This in our view in highly irrational and is blatant violation of the right
guaranteed under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution. This behavior of
Doordarshan would justify us in stating that Doordarshan is being dictated
by rules of malafides and arbitrariness in taking decisions with regard to
In light of the above, the instant appeal at the instance of Doordarshan is
devoid of any merits. Thus, the impugned judgment deserves to be upheld and
sustained by this Court.

24. In the result, the appeal is dismissed and the orders passed by the
learned Judges of the Division Bench are affirmed. However, there will be no
order as to costs. The appellant-Doordarshan is directed to exhibit the
entire documentary film of the respondent Father, Son and Holy War on
Channel No. 1 or 2 within 8 weeks from today on such convenient date and
time as may be fixed by Doordarshan.

 

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