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TMT + 3 senior counsel get SC to stay Delhi HC Comedy Central ban

TMT Law Practice and three senior advocates have won a Supreme Court stay of the 10-day suspension of Viacom-owned TV channel Comedy Central that was ordered by the Delhi high court.

Justices Dipak Misra and UU Lalit ordered the government to respond by 8 December:

As an interim measure, it is directed that the direction issued by the High Court by its order dated 24th November, 2014, banning the channel in toto with effect from 26th November, 2014, shall remain stayed. However, the direction to remove the programmes or telecasting them in the channel, shall remain operational. However, we clarify that if eventually we do not accept the submissions raised by Mr. Harish N. Salve and Dr. Abhishek Manu Singhvi, learned senior counsel appearing for the petitioner, the remaining period for which the channel was banned, shall revive.

Viacom argued that the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting could not regulate content and suspend channels, and violated freedom of expression under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution.

TMT Law Practice managing partner Abhishek Malhotra and senior associate Angad Dugal led for Viacom, instructing senior counsel Harish Salve, Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Indu Malhotra.

The Delhi high court had fined Rs 20,000 and ordered the channel to go off-air for 10 days over two shows that were “not suitable for unrestricted public exhibition and children as the same depicted women as a commodity of sex and appeared to deprave, corrupt and injure the public morality and morals”.

The Supreme Court did not allow an early hearing of the appeal before the ban took effect on 26 November.

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