Regulators

Security clearance clause for FM Phase III applies to companies & directors, not shareholders: Delhi HC

http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/smartcrop_800x800/public/images/regulators-images/2015/07/27/high_court.jpg?itok=o-E1-oLc

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court, which permitted Red FM to take part in the FM Phase III e-auctions that commenced today (27 July), said Digital Radio (Delhi) Broadcasting Ltd and Digital Radio (Mumbai) Broadcasting Ltd, which run Red FM in these two cities have not been alleged to be vehicles of any transgression of law and have been functioning since 2002-2003 without there being any allegation regarding their functioning resulting in any security concerns.

Justices Badar Durrez Ahmed and Sanjeev Sachdeva, who had read out the operative portion yesterday (26 July), said Clause 3.8 of the Notice Inviting Applications had reference only to the company and its directors and there is no mention of its shareholders.

Both Dayanidhi Maran and Kalanithi Maran are shareholders and therefore the Clause does not apply to them.

At the outset, the Court said it was not adjudicating on the validity of clause 3.8. Although appeals have been made seeking the quashing of Clause 3.8, the main thrust of the arguments of Counsel Kapil Sibal and Dr Abhishek Manu Singhvi was on the interpretation of Clause 3.8 and whether the same was applied correctly or not. In any event, since the petitioners have participated in the auction process, they cannot now challenge Clause 3.8.

The court also said that it was not touching upon the policy of requiring a security clearance. “We are, as rightly pointed out by Mr Tushar Mehta, Additional Solicitor General of India, not sitting in appeal over the decision of the Government as to the security angle assessment insofar as Dayanidhi Maran or Kalanithi Maran are concerned. We are also not called upon to comment upon, nor have we, as to whether the allegations/charges against the said two individuals and Sun TV are well founded or unfounded. Those would be decided in criminal proceedings,” the Court said.

Thus the limited extent of judicial review was whether the security assessment in respect of the Maran brothers was germane to the requirements of security clearance prescribed in Clause 3.8 of the NIA. Clause 3.8 stipulates the requirement of a security clearance of the “company” as well as all its “Directors on the Board.” Now, on plain reading, this would imply that the company, which has applied must be security cleared. Not only the corporate entity, which is distinct and separate in law, but also its directors as individuals, distinct from the corporate entity, have to be security cleared. At the same time, the clause does not, on plain reading, extend to shareholders of the applicant company.

The Government had argued that if the shareholders are not roped in then it would amount to ascribing a very narrow meaning to Clause 3.8 of the NIA, which would defeat the very purpose of having a security clearance particularly in this very sensitive field of radio waves.

“We are afraid we cannot agree with this submission. Dr Singhvi was right in submitting that the clause has serious ramifications extending far beyond the present e-auction. If security clearance were to be denied to a company, as has happened in the two cases before us, that would a blot on that company – a badge of dishonour – as Dr Singhvi put it. When such serious penal consequences are to follow then the provisions of Clause 3.8 would require a strict interpretation and if there were any doubt, an interpretation against the maker of the clause would have to be adopted,” the Court said.

Furthermore, the Court said there was no allegation that the petitioner companies were created as a “camouflage to shield the persons exercising control over them from any liability. There is also no allegation that the petitioner companies themselves have indulged in any activities, which could raise security concerns. In fact, both the petitioner companies have been operating their licenses under Phases I and II since 2002-2003. Even when the cases against the Marans were registered in 2011, the petitioner companies have continued to operate their respective radio channels without any objection concerning security issues. As pointed out by Mr Sibal, both these companies got extensions of their licenses by six months as recently as on 31 March 2015. Even then, no security concerns were raised in respect of the two companies.”

It was pointed out by Sibal that in respect of the various cases against the Marans, nobody has been convicted and in fact, the charge-sheet has been filed in only one of four cases.

Latest Reads

http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/05/24/TRAI1.jpg?itok=Qfx7_uNg
TRAI to hold discussions on net neutrality, spectrum in Mumbai

Given the complicated issues around net neutrality, an open house discussion is to be held in Mumbai on 26 May, 2017on Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s consultation paper on the issue NN and free data schemes. Earlier, a similar OHD was held in Hyderabad on 24 October 2016.

Regulators TRAI
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/05/24/High%20court.jpg?itok=hCs4yhVX
Delhi HC notice to Arnab Goswami on 'theft' suit by Times group

NEW DELHI: Delhi High Court, which had earlier issued summons, has now issued a notice to Republic TV’s Arnab Goswami in a case filed against him by former employer Bennett, Coleman and Company Ltd (BCCL), owners of Times Now news channel. The complainant had alleged breach of employment contract...

Regulators High Court
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/05/18/Trai800.jpg?itok=qROXCSE5
TRAI may invite ideas to boost b'cast & tele-products manufacturing

MUMBAI: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) will consider studying the issue of testing and quality of mobile phones and set-top boxes as part of a wider consultation to boost manufacturing of telecom and broadcasting products. The issue is important because telecom operators had...

Regulators TRAI
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/05/16/MIB-800.jpg?itok=cIBqWB1o
New portal to help ease of broadcast business

A new online 'broadcastseva' portal has been launched by the ministry of information and broadcasting (MIB) as part of its initiative to provide a single point facility to various broadcast-related stakeholders and applicants for various permissions, registrations, licences, etc

Regulators I&B Ministry
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/05/13/TATA-AIRTEL-02-Story.jpg?itok=952OgxMG
Tata Sky-Airtel case: HC asks TRAI to file reply before 25 July

The Delhi High Court today issued notice to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India on two different petitions by direct-to-home platforms Tata Sky and Airtel Digital challenging the Tariff and the Reference Interconnect Order regulations.

Regulators TRAI
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/05/12/TRAI1.jpg?itok=yuwHrG-8
Ease of doing b'cast biz date extended to 19 May

NEW DELHI: With the fast-changing regulatory framework for the media and entertainment sector, which in India is one of the fastest growing sectors, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India had last month embarked on a major exercise to find out easier ways of doing business and cause least...

Regulators TRAI
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/05/11/delhi-high-court-800x800_0.jpg?itok=go921lKs
Tata Sky & Airtel DTH pleas against TRAI tariff in Delhi HC on Friday

The petition by direct-to-home platform Tata Sky challenging the Tariff and the Reference Interconnect Order regulations of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India is slated for hearing in the Delhi High Court tomorrow (Friday).

Regulators TRAI
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/05/08/Madras-HC02-Story.jpg?itok=dht9cmGE
SC stays new TRAI tariff, asks Madras HC to complete hearing in four weeks

The Supreme Court of India has granted a stay on TRAI's new tariff orders. A division bench of the Supreme Court comprising Justice Rohinton Fali Narman and Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose has agreed to the demand of Star India staying the new tariff order and interconnect regulations.

Regulators High Court
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/05/08/TRAI1.jpg?itok=M3r2WKot
TRAI to probe 'opaque' offers to departing customers

MUMBAI: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India will study complaints about operators doling out customised retention offers to influence subscribers who plan to shift to a rival network. Jio had alleged that incumbent operators are lining up customised offers for subscribers wanting to shift....

Regulators TRAI

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories