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Kal Cables yet to get stay on licence cancellation order

MUMBAI: The cancellation of registration of Kalanithi Maran’s cable TV company Kal Cables by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) stands effective as the Madras High Court has refused to stay the government order.

However, the HC has offered some solace to the embattled multi-system operator (MSO) by allowing its pleas of not carrying scrolls on its screen announcing the imminent shutdown of the network.

During the hearing of Kal Cables’ petition challenging the MIB’s 20 August order, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) told the Madras High Court that it will submit its report next week by 2 September.

The Additional Solicitor General also informed the HC that the licence of SCV was revoked owing to issues of national security.

This means that Kal Cables will have to comply with the MIB directive to wind down its operations within 15 days from the date of receipt of the order.

There is also disagreement over the date of receipt of order. While the MIB’s order is dated 20 August, Kal claims to have received the order only on 26 August.

If one goes by the MIB’s date of order, then Kal has to wind up its operations by 4 September.

The MIB had sent a letter to Kal Cables on 20 August informing about the cancellation of registration. Kal had got permanent registration for the Chennai Metropolitan Area on 19 June 2012.

The ministry had asked Kal to wind up its operations within 15 days and switch off signals and run a scroll on the screen informing cable operators/customers about the same.

“In view of denial of the security clearance by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), regular registration cannot be granted to Kal Cables in terms of provisions contained in Rule 11C and accordingly the permission granted to Kal Cables stands cancelled with immediate effect,” the MIB had said in its letter.

Subsequently, the MSO had challenged the cancellation in the HC alleging that the cancellation was done without so much as issuing a show-cause notice. The cancellation notice, it had argued, does not clarify why it was denied the security clearance.

It further stated that it has been operating as an MSO since 2006 with due permission and was later granted DAS licence to operate in Chennai. “There has been no change in business activity and no change in any circumstances for the MHA to suddenly refuse security clearance,” Kal had maintained.

Apart from Kal, the MIB has so far cancelled registration of 16 MSOs including Pune-based Intermedia Cable Communications (ICC), Amritsar-based Godfather Communication and Digicable’s Kolkata joint venture DigiCablecomm Services.

All the three MSOs have got stay orders against MIB’s cancellation notices.

Also read:

MIB revokes registration of Kalanithi Maran’s Kal Cables