Regulators

Madras HC permits Sun Group’s Suryan FM to participate in auction

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MUMBAI: Following the Delhi High Court’s interim order, which permitted Red FM to attend mock auctions for Phase III, a directive has been issued by the Madras High Court, allowing Suryan FM to participate in the actual FM auctions.

With this, Sun Group’s Kal Radio, which runs Suryan FM, will now participate in the auctions. Sun Group earlier challenged the Union Ministry’s decision of not giving the company security clearance, due to which the Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry failed to include Sun Group in the pre-bidders list for the Phase III auctions process.

No official statement was issued at the time of filing this report, as the Network is awaiting the hard copy from High Court. Justice M Sathyanarayanan passed the order on the petition filed by the company.

A few days ago, the networks - Digital Radio Broadcasting and Kal Radio, approached the Delhi and Madras High Courts seeking judicial directive on the Ministry’s decision to keep them away from the auctions.

Mock auctions for Phase III are scheduled to take place on 22 and 23 July, 2015, while the actual auction will begin from 27 July, 2015.

P S Raman, senior counsel had appeared on behalf of the petitioner. He pointed out that Dayanidhi Maran is not a shareholder in any of these companies, and that he is under serious charges, and not the company or its subsidiaries. The reason for denial by the Ministry was in line with allegations of Dayanidhi Maran’s holding in the companies. Raman also argued that restriction is against the fundamental rights of freedom of expression.

He also stated that there is no clause in the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, where there is a mention of security clearance.

The Sun Group counsel also pointed out that Reliance’s Big FM was permitted to take part in the auctions even though the network was under serious charges as well.

On the other hand, Additional Solicitor General G Rajagopalan pointed fingers at the group’s promoters facing serious economic offences. According to the Centre, it will not go down well with the people of the country, if the network was permitted to participate in bidding of licenses.

Meanwhile, the final verdict from the Delhi High Court is expected to be revealed on 24 July.

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