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FM auction: Govt to challenge 2 HC orders on Sun TV

Red FM’s plea seeking the High Court’s direction to the Home Ministry to grant security clearance to it was also turned down by the court.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
August 18, 2015 4:01:01 am

The government has issued instructions for challenging the orders of the Delhi and Madras high courts allowing Kalanithi Maran promoted Sun Group to take part in the FM radio phase-III auction.

According to sources, instructions were issued Monday to file a Special Leave Petition before the Supreme Court against the Delhi High Court’s July 26 decision clearing participation of Sun Network’s Red FM in the auction on July 27. Instructions have also been issued to file an appeal before a division bench of the Madras High Court against the single-bench order on July 23 allowing Sun Group companies to take part in the auction.

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According to sources, the Delhi High Court had declined to examine the Constitutional validity of two clauses in the guidelines and Notice Inviting Tender mandating security clearance. Red FM’s prayer for declaring these clauses unconstitutional was turned down since it participated in the tender proceedings with full knowledge of the two requirements.

Red FM’s plea seeking the High Court’s direction to the Home Ministry to grant security clearance to it was also turned down by the court.

The High Court, however, had allowed Red FM’s participation in the auction on the grounds that Dayanidhi Maran and Kalanithi Maran had no direct control over the company. The government’s argument is that even an indirect control of the Maran family in the company is sufficient to deny security clearance, as Dayanidhi and Kalanithi were being prosecuted in cases of money laundering.

The Sun Group had argued in the High Courts that it has been running FM radio channels since 2002 and there have been no allegations since then of it indulging in activities that could raise security concerns.

In June, the Home Ministry had turned down a proposal from the Information and Broadcasting Ministry for granting security clearance to Sun Group.

The I&B Ministry then sought legal opinion from the Attorney General, who favoured granting the security clearance. The Home Ministry, however, stuck to its stand, sources said.

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