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Positiv TV moves TDSAT against licence cancellation by MIB

MUMBAI: Positiv Television has moved the Telecom Disputes Settlement & Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) against the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting’s (MIB) decision to cancel its TV channel licences.

The MIB had cancelled the licences as the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had withdrawn security clearance to the broadcaster.

The company used to run a fleet of five channels including Focus News, Focus Haryana, Focus Bangla and Focus Odisha. All the channels are currently off air due to cancellation of licence. Last year, it had shut down Focus NE and Focus Hi Fi.

Positiv Television has often been linked to Jindal Steel & Power Ltd (JSPL) chairman and Congress leader Naveen Jindal.

Its main contention is that the MHA has not provided reasons for withdrawing security clearance. It also said that the Attorney General’s position in the Sun TV Network case is that security clearance can be revoked only if there is a threat to the nation.

When the matter came up for hearing on 8 April, the MHA filed its reply in which apart from contesting the petition on merits, it raised objections to the maintainability of the petition before the tribunal.

It stated that the tribunal does not have the jurisdiction to examine the validity of denial of security clearance to the petitioner.

The MIB, which is also a respondent in the matter, did not file its reply. The tribunal noted that before taking up the matter any further, it would like the MIB to make its stand clear.

It directed MIB counsel Rajeev Sharma, who is also representing the MHA, to file the reply on behalf of the MIB latest by 18 April. The matter has been put up under the same head on 26 April.

In the previous hearing, the tribunal had directed the MHA and MIB to file reply within two weeks from 1 April.