Tv network

SC confirms cancellation of cable television network license

The Supreme Court ruled that the Union government could revoke the license of a cable television network in the absence of a security clearance and that there was no requirement to give notice or to hear the company.

A panel of Judges Abhay Manohar Sapre and Indu Malhotra relied on the provisions of Rule 11C of the Cable Television Network Rules (Amendment) 2012 to conclude that obtaining security clearance was a mandatory requirement .

“Since the granting of the authorization was conditional on obtaining the security clearance from the relevant ministry, the competent authority was justified in canceling the conditional authorization for lack of security clearance,” said the tribunal.

The court dismissed an appeal filed by Digi Cable Network (India) Pvt Ltd and others against a 2015 Bombay High Court judgment which refused to allow their plea against the cancellation of the authorization on September 3 2014, by the Ministry of the Interior for operating as a multi-system operator in the digital addressable system.

Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand, representing the Center, filed a report in a sealed envelope stating the reasons for the withdrawal of clearance for security reasons.

The court noted that the rescission order was issued in accordance with the requirements of the settlement.

The company’s lawyer, however, argued that she had not been given an opportunity to be heard, which was wrong in law for breaching the principles of natural justice and fair play.

The court, however, cited a 2014 judgment that said, “What is in the interest of national security is not a question of law. It is a matter of politics. It is not for the court to decide whether something is in the interest of the state or not. That should be left to the executive… In a national security situation, a party cannot insist on strict adherence to the principles of natural justice.