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Madras HC quashes government order against Kal Cables

Posted on Sep 05 2014 | IANS

Chennai, Sep 5 : The Madras High Court Friday set aside the central government's order cancelling the multi-system operator (MSO) licence of Kal Cables Pvt Ltd.

The high court said the principle of natural justice - giving an opportunity to Kal Cables to be heard - was not followed prior to the cancellation of the licence.

Kal Cables is part of the business ventures of the Maran brothers viz. Sun TV group' Kalanithi Maran and former union minister Dayanidhi Maran.

Kal Cables is the cable television MSO - operator of multiple cable or direct-broadcast satellite TV systems - giving signals to local cable operators.

The court, however, allowed the ministry of information and broadcasting to take further action in the matter after giving sufficient notice to Kal Cables and if their reply was not satisfactory.

The central government had cancelled the MSO licence given to Kal Cables Aug 20. The company was one of the 17 MSOs so dealt with.

According to the ministry, the licence to Kal Cables was cancelled as the home ministry denied security clearance to the company.

The company was given a licence to operate in Chennai in 2012 and a provisional licence to operate in other parts of Tamil Nadu in 2013.

The court said that Kal Cables is only a distributor or last mile operator and if at all the licence has to be cancelled for security reasons then the government should have cancelled the licence of the broadcaster/satellite channel.

The court said if there is something wrong with the content of a newspaper then action should be taken only against the publisher and not against the distributor.

According to P. Shakilan of Tamizhaga Cable Operators Association, Chennai city has around a 40 lakh subscriber base.

"Of these 10 lakh are direct-to-home (DTH) subscribers and 30 lakh cable TV subscribers," he said.

Out of the 30 lakh cable TV subscribers, nearly 15 lakh are with Kal Cables and the rest with other MSOs like TCCL and others.

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