Technology

Madras High Court declines to restrain MSOs, LCOs from transmitting analogue signals

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New Delhi: Even as a petition by Chennai Metro Cable Operators Association (CMCOA) seeking extension of implementation of the digital access system is pending hearing, the Madras High Court has refused to grant interim injunction restraining local cable operators from transmitting the cable TV signals in analogue mode.

However, Justice Vinod K Sharma said: "It is admitted that the cable operators including Arasu cable are providing only analogue system and therefore violating law for which they can be prosecuted under section 11 and section 16 of the Cable Television Networks (Regulations) 1995."

But he said this did not mean he was accepting the petition by T Saikrishnan seeking to restrain LCOs and multi-system operators like Arasu from transmitting or operating analogue head end or importing cable TV signals from Non-DAS area or rolling out cable TV signals without DAS licence to the consumers within Chennai Metropolitan area.

Justice Sharma said: "It cannot be said that the applicant has prima facie case to seek injunction nor the balance of convenience is in favour of him is not likely to suffer any irreparable loss."

In the suit, the plaintiff claimed that he is in cable business for last several years after getting valid licence from the postal department. He is operating in and around Virugambakkam in Chennai. Other local cable operators including Arasu cable in the cable business were transmitting signals in and around the area and other areas of city without obtaining necessary licence.

Arasu Cable Television got itself impleaded as party and filed the counter. It submitted that the applicant had not come to the court with clean hands and filed the application at the instigation of some vested interest who did not want the government to operate the cable TV business.

P H Arvindh Pandian, Additional Advocate General, contended that the Union government already issued MSO licence to Arasu cable in April 2008 which was valid up to 2013 and it had also applied for DAS licence with the Information and Broadcasting Ministry and the application was still pending. Arasu Cable was running cable TV network in public interest to provide transmission.

The Judge viewed that under the Act, the aggrieved person could file an appeal for taking action against persons or authority. "The remedy for violation is provided under the Act under section 11 and 16 whereas civil suit is barred in view of law laid down by the Supreme Court", added Mr. Justice Sharma.

Meanwhile, the petition by (CMCOA) through its General Secretary M R Srinivasan for extension of DAS pending before Justice N Paul Vasanthakumar is expected to come up for hearing in the last week of this month.

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