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MHA to SC: Not Under Obligation to Disclose Reason of Denial to MediaOne

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Media One Law Insider

Paridhi Arya

Published on June 2, 2022 at 16:07 IST

The Central Government filed a reply in Supreme Court in the case of denying the security clearance to Malayalam news channel MediaOne.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has stated the denial was made on intelligence input and in matter where question of National Security is involved. Ministry is not under obligation to disclose the reason of denial.

It is a matter of policy and interest of the State and its establishment is involved and that is why MHA will not disclose the reason as stated by the Central Government in Affidavit filed.

“It is submitted that in cases like the present wherein the matter concerning national security is involved, the petitioner company cannot insist upon strict compliance with principles of natural justice and the respondent is not bound to disclose the reasons for denial of security clearance to the petitioner-company,” the Affidavit said.

The Central Government further stated in the Affidavit that the reason of such denial was already submitted to the High Court and Supreme Court. Once again, the report can be submitted ‘in a sealed cover’.

“MHA under Section 124 of the Indian Evidence Act seeks privilege over its secret files and prays that the contents of the files may not be disclosed to the petitioner since such disclosure may have far reaching and unimaginable consequences in so far as national security is concerned,” the Affidavit by the Centre said.

The Bench of Justices DY Chandrachud, Surya Kant and Vikram Nath ordered the stay on revocation and allowed MediaOne to resume the work.

On January 5, 2022 the Government issued notice that their licenses can be revoked due to the reason of National Security and Public Order. The Government asked to show cause the reason why this revocation should not be done.

The Petition was filed in Kerala High Court where Single Judge Bench of Justice N Nagaresh upheld the revocation made by MHA stating that material given in sealed cover justify the ban on MediaOne.

The appeal from this order filed before Division Bench of Justices S Manikumar and Shaji P Chaly stating that the haste by Central Government to cancel license shows ill intention but the Bench rejected the contention and upheld the revocation.

The MHA contended that party cannot insist to observe the principles of natural justice in such a case where question of National Security is involved.