SC protects TV news anchor Sudhir Chaudhary from arrest in Hemant Soren case

An FIR was lodged against Chaudhary for alleged objectionable remarks after former Jharkhand CM Soren's arrest in January

TV journalist Sudhir Chaudhary (photo: @aajtak/X)
TV journalist Sudhir Chaudhary (photo: @aajtak/X)

NH Digital

The Supreme Court on Monday granted protection from arrest to news anchor and Aaj Tak consulting editor Sudhir Chaudhary in connection with an FIR lodged in Jharkhand's capital Ranchi for allegedly making objectionable remarks on air after former Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate in January.

A bench headed by Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud took note of the submissions of senior advocate Siddharth Luthra, appearing for the journalist, that he was facing threat of arrest. “Pending further orders, no coercive steps (should) be taken,” the bench ordered and issued notice to the state police and others on the news anchor's plea.

A tribal group had filed a police complaint under the Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act against Chaudhary for his alleged remarks.

Earlier this month, a warning was issued to the Hindi news channel Aaj Tak by News Broadcasting & Digital Standards Authority (NBDSA) for a programme anchored by Chaudhary, which generalised acts of violence during Ram Navami in a targeted communal fashion.

Almost immediately afterwards, NBDSA asked Aaj Tak to take down videos criticising a statement by former US President Barack Obama, and levied a fine of Rs 75,000 for violating principles of objectivity and neutrality in its broadcast of the programme 'Black and White' aired on 26 June 2023.

NBDSA chairperson justice A.K. Sikri observed that while criticising Obama's statement, Chaudhary went overboard by bringing in an unrelated narrative and connecting Obama's statement with separatist organisations and extremist groups.

With PTI inputs

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