Vs. Director General, Doordarshan & Ors  INSC 307 (28 September 1988)
Sabyasachi (J) Mukharji, Sabyasachi (J) Kania, M.H. Rangnathan, S.
1989 AIR 157 1988 SCR Supl. (3) 282 1989 SCC (1) 89 JT 1988 (4) 50 1988 SCALE
226/136 of the Constitution--T.V. Serial--Mirza Ghalib-Selection of-Whether
discriminatory--Scope and exercise of authority by Doordarshan--Whether proper
and in accordance with principle of fair-play.
view to produce T.V. Serials based on themes e.g. national integration,
Communal harmony, against exploitation of child labour, equal status for women
etc., Doordarshan invited proposals from producers sponsors. The last date for
submitting such projects was 7th May, 1986
and it was also made obligatory by Doordarshan that projects should comply with
the guidelines prescribed by it. Clause (2) of the guidelines inter alia
required that the proposals for sponsored programs should consist of break up
of the story in episodes; complete synopsis of each episode; detailed scenario,
script of at least one episode etc. As per clause (3) of the guidelines the
proposals on receipt by Doordarshan were to be given a reference No. and
acknowledged. The guidelines also prescribed that if any proposal is not
accompanied by any of the documents required by the guidelines, that deficiency
was to be pointed out to the producer of the proposal and was to be treated
complete only when all the requirements contained in the guidelines referred to
above are complied with. On the theme of national integration the Petitioner
and Respondent No. 2 had submitted projects on the life and history of the
great urdu poet Mirza Ghalib.
projects submitted by the Petitioner and by another person were not
approved/selected for telecast as the same were not found to be either
attractive or interesting but the one sent by Respondent No Gulzar--was
selected. The Petitioner challenged the said action of Doordarshan as arbitrary
and based on malice by filing writ petition in the High Court u/a 226 of the
Constitution praying for a direction to the Union of India and the Doordarshan
to accept the script of the Petitioner and eventually to give him the contract.
His contention before the High Court was mainly that Respondent No. 2-Shri
GULZAR-had been preferred over the Petitioner by practising discrimination PG
NO 282 PG NO 283 nation in the matter of selection of T.V. Serial even though
the Petitioner had submitted his project on 7th May 1986 whilst Respondent No.
2 had not.
High Court did not f~nd substance in any of the contentions raised by the
Petitioner and dismissed the Writ Petition. Against the order of the High Court
of 13th July, 1988 dismissing the Writ Petition the
Petitioner filed a petition for special leave to appeal u/a 136 of the
the petition for Special leave, this Court,
That Respondent No. 2--Gulzar had by a letter dated the 4th February, 1986
submitted the theme of the matter and Doordarshan had asked him to furnish
further details to make the proposal complete and after the proposal was so
made complete, the same along with others was placed for consideration 'before
the Committee. Though the proposals might not have been considered strictly in
accordance with the order of precedence yet they were considered fairly or
reasonably. [285C; 286F-G] That there was objectivity in the actual
consideration of the different proposals and that there was fairness in the
decision and that no malice or ill-will coloured the decision-making process in
the case. The Petitioner was not refused proper consideration because
Respondent 2 described the petitioner as one who is a ~'maverick", on the
contrary the serial submitted by the Petitioner was neither found to be attractive
nor interesting. [287A-B] Ram & Shyam Co. v. State of Haryana & Ors.,
[l985] 3, SCC 267 at pp. 268 and 269 Haji T.M. Hassan Rawther v. Kerala
Financial Corporation, AIR 1988 SC 157 at p. 161, referred to.
APPELLATE JURISDICTION: Special Leave Petition (Civil) No. 9814 of 1988.
the Judgment and Order dated 13.7.1988 of the Delhi High Court in C.W.P. No.
3423 of 1987.
Mukhoty, R.N. Keswani, Irfan Ahmed and M. Safid for the Petitioner.
Singh, Additional Solicitor General, Mrs. Sushma Suri, Ms. Indu Goswami, Pinaki
Mishra and Ms. Bina Gupta for the Respondents.
284 The Judgment of the Court was delivered by SABYASACHI MUKHARJI, J. This
petition is for special leave to appeal from the decision of the High Court of
Delhi, dated 13th July,
1988. By the said
Order the High Court dismissed the writ petition filed by the petitioner.
said writ petition, the petitioner had asked for a direction to the Union of
India and/or the Doordarshan to accept the script of the petitioner and
eventually to give him the contract. The High Court in its order recorded that
there was no substance in the allegation that Shri Gulzar, respondent No. Z
herein, had been preferred over the petitioner by practising discrimination.
There was a proposal to produce T.V. serials based on national integration,
communal harmony, against exploitation of child labour, equal status for women
etc. etc. and the last date for submitting such projects was 7th May, 1986. It
was further announced by the Doordarshan that the project should be completed
in terms of the guidelines issued by the Doordarshan, respondent No. 1. The
said guidelines for sponsored programme to be produced by sponsor indicate
certain requirement for the proposals. The guidelines, inter alia, state in
clause (2) that the proposals for sponsored programmes should consist of the
break-up of the story in episodes and broadline of treatment;
synopsis of each episode;
scenario script of at least one episodes; and
names and addresses of Director, Camera- man, Music Director, Script/Dialogue
Writer, Main Artists etc.
(3) of the said guidelines indicated further that all proposals received by the
Doordarshan will be given a reference number and acknowledge. In case proposals
not accompanied by any of the foregoing documents mentioned aforesaid are
received, a suitable indication would be given by the Doordarshan to the
Producer along with the acknowledgment. It further indicated that a proposal
would be considered "complete" only after the required number of
copies of the documents mentioned aforesaid were supplied.
appears, therefore, that a proposal though not containing all the particulars
would still be a Proposal but not a "complete" proposal but the
proposal will be complete only PG NO 285 after the required number of copies of
all the documents mentioned hereinbefore are supplied. The theme with which the
petitioner was concerned and with which also the proposal of respondent No. 2
was concerned, was the life and history of the great Urdu poet Mirza Ghalib. It
was the case of the petitioner that before the last date for the submission of
the project on 7th May,
1986 though the
petitioner had submitted his project, respondent No. 2 had not.
High Court did not accept the aforesaid allegation.
have examined the records and the acknowledgment sheets in original which were
produced in the Court for our satisfaction and it appears to us that the High
Court was right on this point and the petitioner was not. Respondent No. 2
submitted, it appears, the theme of the matter by a letter dated 4th February, 1986. This was not undoubtedly a
complete project. It was only on the theme of the project, namely. the life and
history of the great poet Mirza Ghalib.
petitioner, however, by a letter dated 13th March, 1986 submitted the proposal
with 13 episodes giving the entire idea of his project depicting the life of Mirza
Ghalib and his contribution to the national integration. The final decision to
award the project to respondent No. 2 was taken, it appears, some time in
November 1986 after considering three complete proposals on the project. It
appears to us from the records that the Doordarshan authorities found that the
project submitted by the petitioner was not "attractive or
interesting". It appears further from the letter that the Doordarshan
authorities did not find the proposal of the petitioner to be "attractive
or interesting" enough. There was one more proposal given by another
person apart from the petitioner and respondent No. 2. It is, however, not
clear what that proposal was. It appears that the Doordarshan authorities did
not find the proposal of that person to be any more attractive or interesting
than that of the petitioner. In the meantime, respondent No. 2 had submitted
his proposal and the Doordarshan, though the proposal was not complete, asked
respondent No.2 to give further details and after they were submitted by
respondent No. 2,it was examined by the Committee. It was asserted on behalf of
respondent No. 2, and it appears to be corroborated by the records that before
the proposal of respondent No. 2 was considered, the script and the proposal of
the petitioner as well as that of the other person were considered and not
found to be "attractive or interesting" enough. Therefore, it appears
that though the idea was presented by respondent No.2 by a letter but the
matter was decided only after the entire proposal had been submitted by
respondent No. 2. It appears, therefore, that all the proposals were duly
considered by the Committee. It further appears that PG NO 286 respondent No. 2
had submitted his proposal before his was respondent No. 2 had submitted his
proposal before his was accepted by the Doordarshan authorities.
conduct of the Doordarshan in awarding the opportunity of serialising the
script to respondent No. 2 was challenged as arbitrary and mala fide.
well-settled that there should be fair-play in action in a situation like the
present one, as was observed by this Court in Ram & Shyam Co. v. State of Haryana
& Ors.,  3 SCC 267 at pages 268-269. It is also well-settled that the
authorities like the Doordarshan should act fairly and their action should be
legitimate and fair and transaction should be without any aversion, malice or
affection. Nothing should be done which gives the impression of favouritism or
nepotism. See the observations of this Court in Haji T.M. Hassan Rawther v. Kerala
Financial Corpn., AIR 1988 SC 157 at page 161.
as mentioned hereinbefore, fair-play in action in matters like the present one
is an essential requirement, similarly, however, free play in the joints' is
also a necessary concomitant for an administrative body functioning in an
administrative sphere or quasi-administrative sphere as the present one. Judged
from that stand point of view, though all the proposals might not have been
considered strictly in accordance with order of precedence, it appears that
these were considered fairly, reasonably, objectively and without any malice or
No. '2, it further appears. has a long record of steady and successful
performance in direction, script- writing recognised by the conventional
yardstick of the society. Ii' having regard to such a record, certain latitude
in taking up for consideration was shown to the proposal submitted by the
respondent No. 2, in our opinion, respondent No. 1 did not transgress the
limits of fair-play in action. All the proposals were, as mentioned hereinbefore,
duly considered. These were considered by a Committee of eminent persons. Our
attention was drawn to the names of the members of the Committee. As mentioned
hereinbefore, the Committee did not find the proposal of the petitioner and the
other person either attractive or interesting enough in awarding the TV serial
on the aspect of national integration of the lifetime of Mirza Ghalib.
it was so found, the idea of respondent No. 2 was considered and the proposal
was duly considered. We have satisfied ourselves from the records produced at
the time of the hearing and from the affidavits filed before us that there was
objectivity in the actual consideration of the PG NO 287 different proposals
and that there was fairness in the decision and that no malice or ill-will coloured
the decision-making process in this case. The petitioner was not refused proper
consideration because what respondent No. ' described the petitioner as one who
is a 'maverick'.
aforesaid light and in the facts of this case and the principles of law that
are applicable, we are satisfied that the High Court was right and the decision
of the respondent No. 1 does not call for any interference. The Special Leave
Petition must fail and is, therefore dismissed accordingly.