New Delhi: BJP MP Subramanian Swamy has written to the Information & Broadcasting ministry to look into the use of the word ‘Republic, the proposed name for a new TV news channel to be launched by Arnab Goswami, claiming it will be violative of the Emblems Act, 1950.
“We have something called the Emblems Act that has listed certain names. These names can’t be used by any person for any purpose. Only the government can use them. The word ‘Republic’ is also in the list. Arnab Goswami can call his channel ‘The Republican’ etc. But not the Republic. That’s why I have written to I&B ministry,” Swamy told News18.
Goswami didn’t reply to calls and an email questionnaire sent by News18.
Goswami, until recently the Editor-in-Chief of Times Now, is tipped to be launching a news channel along with a team of investors.
In his letter, Swamy argues that as per the schedule accompanying the statute, under Item 6, there is an express prohibition from using the phrase ‘Republic’.
“Hence the grant of licence to a news channel to broadcast under the name of ‘Republic’ will be contrary to law and a direct breach of the Emblems & Names (Prevention & Improper Use) Act, 1950.
Therefore your office may look into the use of ‘Republic’ and determine if it is prohibited to issue a licence under such a name,” says the letter dated January 13, 2017, sent to Secretary, Ministry of I&B.
The legal fraternity, however, seemed split on Swamy’s claims.
“I think. Swamy’s contention is correct because the word ‘Republic’ gives a feeling that the channel is by the Government or is owned by the Government. Such is the case with All India Radio. Prima facie the objection is valid,” said Mathews J Nedumpara, Advocate, Bombay High Court
But Aspi Chinoy, Senior Counsel, Bombay High Court, felt that the name can be used by the new channel.
“If the name would have been ‘Republic of India’ then there would have been an issue, but in this case it does not look violative. But a detailed reading of the law is needed to comment on this issue,” he said.