Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju today described as a "waste of the Supreme Court's precious time" petitions challenging the ban on a BBC documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the 2002 Gujarat riots.
The Supreme Court will consider next week requests against a government order blocking the sharing of clips of the BBC series that questioned PM Modi's leadership during the riots on his watch as Chief Minister of Gujarat.
This is how they waste the precious time of Hon'ble Supreme Court where thousands of common citizens are waiting and seeking dates for Justice. https://t.co/5kouG8Px2K— Kiren Rijiju (@KirenRijiju) January 30, 2023
"This is how they waste the precious time of Hon'ble Supreme Court where thousands of common citizens are waiting and seeking dates for Justice," tweeted Kiren Rijiju.
The series, titled "India: The Modi Question", has been dismissed as a biased "propaganda piece" by the government, which has blocked the sharing of any clips from it on social media. Directions to block the clips from being shared were issued using emergency powers available to the government under IT rules, said Kanchan Gupta, an adviser to the government, on Twitter.
The BBC says the documentary was "rigorously researched" and involved a wide range of voices and opinions, including responses from the BJP.
The Supreme Court will take up the petitions next week, Chief Justice DY Chandrachud said.
A lawyer, ML Sharma, has opposed the government's move in one of the petitions to the Supreme Court. A separate petition by lawyer Prashant Bhushan, journalist N Ram and Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra, on the order to take down social media links to the documentary, will be taken up later this week.
Students' organisations and opposition parties across India have organised public screenings of the documentary, protesting the ban. Students clashed with college authorities and the police in many colleges, and some were briefly detained.
PM Modi was exonerated in 2012 following an inquiry overseen by the Supreme Court and a petition questioning his exoneration was dismissed last year.
Last week, a foreign ministry spokesperson termed the documentary a "propaganda piece" meant to push a "discredited narrative".