Three days after the Information and Broadcasting Ministry issued a show cause notice to Live India for telecasting a fake sting operation, the channel said it had done so in good faith. The sting operation had alleged that Uma Khurana, a school teacher, was involved in the flesh trade.
Responding to the ministry's notice, the channel said that the sting operation was carried out in good faith and its intentions were not wrong, ministry sources said. The channel filed its reply on Friday, complying with the deadline set by the ministry, said sources.
They also said that the channel's reply will be examined by a committee of senior ministry officials and by Information and Broadcasting Minister Priyaranjan Dasmunshi, who will take into account the recommendations of the officials.
The 'expose' by the channel had depicted Uma Khurana, a Daryaganj school teacher, as running a sex racket and supplying students to her clients. After the sting operation was aired, Khurana was attacked by an angry mob outside her school.
But the police soon found out that the teacher had been framed by reporter Prakash Singh, associate Rashmi Singh and businessman Virender Arora.
Asked about the government's future course of action, Dasmunshi said that the authorities will take appropriate action under the law after receiving the channel's reply.
"The ministry has already sent it a notice under the Cable Television Network Act. After receiving the reply, whatever necessary action needs to be taken under the Act, will be taken," he said.
The Delhi High Court too had sought a response from the Centre on the action it was contemplating against the TV channel for beaming the sting operation.The ministry's uplinking and downlinking guidelines make it binding on channels to observe the Programme Code of the Cable Television Network Act.
The violation of this Code may lead to the suspension of a channel's licence or even revocation of the licence along with a fine. The Code states that channels cannot air any programme which "offends good taste or decency...contains anything obscene, defamatory, deliberate, false and suggestive
innuendos and half-truths". The Code also bars channels from airing any programme, "which is likely to encourage or incite violence or contains anything against maintenance of law and order...or criticises or maligns or slanders any individual in person".