Chennai: The Madras high court has ordered notice to the Central government on a PIL filed by veteran journalist T.N. Gopalan, praying to the court to forbear the government from blocking Savukku website except in accordance with the procedure prescribed under Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking for Access of Information by Public) Rules 2009.
Gopalan, who retired from BBC Tamil Service recently, stated that he was shocked to read the news about the website being blocked, on March 1. The website deals with investigative journalism and publishes news in public interest. It had unearthed several scams, including the multi-crore scam of the TN housing board and illegal constructions on 44,0 00 sq m by Isha Yoga Centre, Coimbatore.
Recently, it had released audio conversations between former state Intelligence chief Jaffer Sait and former MD of Kalaignar TV, Sharad Kumar. Gopalan submitted that on a petition from a complainant, the Madras high court had directed the department of information and technology and joint secretary, cyber law division of the department, New Delhi, to block the website since its contents were grossly demeaning and harmful.He contended that the petitioner had sought a direction to the police to register a case based on her complaint, dated September 7, 20 13.
However, the court directed the Union government to block the website not later than March 11, 2014. Hence, he filed the present petition and stated that the public were entitled to have access to all kinds of information placed on any website. In the event of the government blocking the website, it would destruct public interest and violate Article 14, 19 (1), (a) and 21 of the Constitution.
The first bench, comprising acting chief justice Satish K. Agnihotri and Justice M.M. Sundresh ordered notice and Central government standing counsel S. Bhavani took notice. The matter was adjourned for after four weeks.