The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Centre to produce original records relating to the order which blocked a BBC documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s alleged role in the 2002 Gujarat riots, Live Law reported.

A bench comprising Justices Sanjiv Khanna and MM Sundresh asked the Centre to file its response in the case by the next hearing, which will be in April.

The court is hearing two petitions filed by Advocate ML Sharma and journalist N Ram, lawyer Prashant Bhushan and Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra.

The first episode of the BBC’s two-part documentary, titled India: The Modi Question, was released on January 17. It alleges that a team sent by the British government had found that Modi, who was the chief minister of Gujarat when the riots took place, was “directly responsible for a climate of impunity” that led to the violence against Muslims.

The documentary also reveals a United Kingdom government report on the violence for the first time, stating that the riots had “all the hallmarks of an ethnic cleansing”.

The second part, which focussed on Modi’s record as prime minister, was released on January 24.

On January 20, the government had used emergency powers available under the Information Technology Rules, 2021, to issue directions to YouTube and Twitter to block clips of the documentary from being shared. The foreign ministry had described the documentary as “a propaganda piece designed to push a particular discredited narrative”.

In his plea, Sharma argued that the Centre’s blocking order is “malafide, arbitrary and unconstitutional” and that the court should examine the documentary and act against persons who were, directly and indirectly, responsible for the 2002 Gujarat riots, according to The Indian Express.

Ram and Bhushan told the court that tweets about the documentary were taken down by the Centre and added that the Centre has not put the blocking order on public domain.

During Friday’s hearing, advocate Chander Uday Singh, representing Ram and others sought interim relief from the court. However, the bench said it was not considering that aspect at this point.

“It is also a fact that people have been accessing those videos,” Justice Khanna said. He also declined Singh’s demand for an early hearing.

Last month, students attempted to screen pirated versions of the documentary at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, Ambedkar University and Jamia Millia Islamia University in Delhi as well as the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai and the Presidency University in Kolkata.