The petition filed by the channel’s chairman Sajan Varghese argued that the govt does not have powers to order a judicial inquiry in a case involving a news channel.

Sleaze tape row Mangalam TV challenges govts judicial probe in Kerala HC
news Media Friday, June 30, 2017 - 10:44

Mangalam Television approached the Kerala High Court challenging the state government’s decision to conduct a judicial inquiry on the airing of a sleaze audio tape of a conversation allegedly between former Transport minister AK Saseendran and a woman.

The petition filed by the channel’s chairman Sajan Varghese argued that the government does not have the powers to order a judicial inquiry in a case involving a news channel, reports the Times of India.

The channel, on the day of its launch on March 26, had aired the audio which resulted in the resignation of the minister on the same day. 

The airing of the audio had created a sensation and the channel CEO Ajithkumar, who said that the minister had asked for sexual favours from a woman who approached him for help, was forced to admit that it was a honey trap. 

The crime branch has been investigating the case and the government ordered a judicial probe into it on March 28. Retired judge PS Antony is heading the investigation.  

The petition said that the channel’s operation is based on a licence issued by the central government. “The central government has exclusive jurisdiction over the matters coming under the Union List and broadcasting and similar forms of communication are items falling under the Union List,” the petition said.

It further said, “The decision to conduct judicial inquiry by the state government is a violation of the provisions of the Commissions Inquiry Act, 1952. The central government alone has the authority to order a judicial inquiry in it. The terms of reference for the judicial enquiry does not reveal a matter of public importance as required under the Act.”

The petition alleged that the state government is trying to cover the mistakes of a minister by appointing the judicial commission. “It is an abuse of power and wasting of public money,” it said. 

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