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Madras HC dismisses MIB order retraining Sun TV’s FM radio stations from migrating to Phase III

MUMBAI: The Madras High Court has set aside the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting’s (MIB) order dated 15 July 2015 preventing Sun TV Network and group companies from participating in the phase III FM radio auction due to denial of security clearance by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

The order paves the way for Sun TV and its group companies to participate in the Phase III FM radio auctions in Chennai, Coimbatore, Tirunelveli and Visakhapatnam.

Justice M Duraiswamy has directed the MIB to announce the name of successful bidders subject to the other conditions fulfilled by the applicants.

The judge was of the view that Sun TV companies have themselves not violated any law. These companies, he said, have been functioning since 2002/2003 without any allegation against them.

In July 2015, the Madras High Court had passed an interim order allowing Sun TV to participate in the FM Phase III action.

The HC had clarified that the result of Sun TV’s bid would be kept in a sealed cover and produced before the court on the next date of hearing and that the participation of the company in the ensuing e-auction would depend on the result of these writ petitions.

The matter reached the court after the MIB’s list of FM radio broadcasters permitted to migrate from Phase II to Phase III excluded Sun TV-owned stations. This was done following denial of security clearance by the MHA.

The security clearance was denied due to investigations against promoters Kalanithi Maran and his brother Dayanithi Maran in the Aircel–Maxis deal.

Sun TV owns two FM radio brands, Suryan FM and Red FM. Earlier Red FM was allowed by the Delhi High Court to migrate to FM radio Phase III.