In a setback to former Union Minister Dayanidhi Maran and his brother Kalanidhi Maran, the Union Government on Tuesday filed an appeal in the Madras High Court challenging its order that stayed the Centre’s directive to Kal Cables, asking it to shut down services. Kal runs Sumangali Cable Vision (SCV), which is the cable distribution arm of media tycoon Kalanidhi Maran’s Sun Group.
The Centre in its appeal claimed that Kal Cables was given a licence on the condition that it should get security clearance from the Union Home Ministry.
It further clarified that after the Home Ministry denied the security clearance, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting had no other option but to cancel its Multi System Operator (MSO) licence. “Invoking principles of natural justice does not arise as Kal Cables has not complied with an essential condition of security clearance from the Home Ministry,” the Centre argued.
A division bench, comprising Justice Sathish K Agnihotri and Justice M Venugopal, adjourned the matter for July 1 after issuing notice to Kal Cables. In an order sent to Kal Cables office in Chennai on August 26, the ministry had asked the MSO to shut down operations within 15 days.
Kal Cables, owned by the Maran brothers Kalanidhi Maran, then approached the Madras High Court, demanding a direction to the government for a permanent licence.
It also pointed out that the Union Home Ministry and the Information and Broadcasting Ministry had not issued any show-cause notices before denying the security clearance and cancelling their licence.
A week ago, I&B Ministry had sought clarifications from the Home Ministry about the reasons cited while issuing an order to cancel the TV licence. The I&B Ministry had to raise the matter with MHA as the Madras HC had criticised MHA for not giving Kal Cables an opportunity to present its case. Sun TV operates 33 satellite TV channels and runs 45 FM radio stations under the brand name Suryan FM in Tamil Nadu and Red FM in other cities.