Justice V.K. Jain, disposing of the plea filed by the channel, directed the information and broadcasting ministry to give the channel, owned by Ramdev, three days' notice before taking any action.
Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Rajevee Mehra, appearing for central government, however, opposed the plea saying no order has been passed on the issue and it is premature to approach the court at this stage.
The petition was filed by Vedic Broadcasting Limited, parent company of Aastha channel, seeking quashing of show cause notice issued to it by the ministry on Nov 15 last year saying that the channel, being a non-news and current affairs TV channel, had telecast a programme "Swabhiman Sandesh" Nov 8, 2012, wherein Ramdev criticized the policies and programmes of the government.
The notices of Nov 15, 2012 and Feb 14, 2013 alleged that by telecasting the programmes, where Ramdev criticized the policies of government, the petitioner company had violated the terms of its license which was for being a non-news and current affairs TV channel.
"The impugned notices allege that by telecasting the said programmes, the petitioner has broadcast content in the nature of news/current affairs, thereby allegedly violating the terms of its uplinking/downlinking license as a 'non-news and current affairs" channel'," the plea said.
Advocate Vivek Chib, appearing for channel, told the court that it has come to the notice of the petitioner that on Sep 26, the ministry has decided to shut down broadcast of its channels.
"The ministry, while issuing the show cause notice to the company, has failed to appreciate that the views and opinions expressed by speakers on Aastha TV can in no manner whatsoever be construed as news and current affairs," said the petition.
It added: "The aforementioned impugned notices issued by the ministry are without jurisdiction, arbitrary, ex-facie illegal and untenable in law. The ministry, through the impugned notices, is at attempting to violate the fundamental rights of the petitioner herein, specifically the right of freedom of speech and expression."
--IANS (Posted on 27-09-2013)