FM auction: Government to challenge Madras and Delhi HC decisions on Sun TV

Govt sources said instructions have been given for filing an Special Leave Petition in the SC for challenging the July 26 order of the Delhi HC allowing Sun Network's Red FM to participate in phase-III of FM auction.

By: PTI | New Delhi | Published: August 17, 2015 5:45:48 pm

Government has decided to challenge the decisions of the Madras and Delhi High Courts allowing Kalanithi Maran promoted Sun Group to participate in the FM radio phase-III auction.

Government sources said instructions have been given for filing an Special Leave Petition in the Supreme Court for challenging the July 26 order of the Delhi High Court allowing Sun Network’s Red FM to participate in phase-III of FM auction on July 27.

A similar order has also been issued for approaching division bench of the Madras High Court to challenge a single bench order on July 23 allowing the Sun Group companies to participate in the auction.

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Sources said one of the key grounds for challenging the two orders would be that the two high courts had not questioned the pendency of criminal charges against Sun group promoters and their implications on national security and economic security as a ground for denying security clearance.

The Sun Group had approached the High Courts of Delhi and Madras with the plea that the government had denied security clearance to Sun Group as Kalanithi Maran and his brother former Telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran were being prosecuted in cases of money laundering and that they should be allowed to participate in the auction as it has been running FM radio channels since 2002.

The company also claimed that there has been no allegation that since then it has indulged in activities which could raise security concerns.

The Home Ministry in June had rejected an Information and Broadcasting Ministry’s proposal for giving security clearance to Sun Group, a move that could lead to cancellation of broadcasting licence of companies 33 channels.

Following the Home Ministry’s refusal, the I&B Ministry sought a legal opinion of Attorney General, who favoured giving security clearance.

However, the Home Ministry was not ready to review its decision despite the AG’s opinion, sources said.

Kalanithi Maran has already written a letter to Home Minister Rajnath Singh asking him to intervene in the issue of refusal of security clearance to the network saying his company was never involved in any anti-national or criminal activity.

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