Kerala HC stays Centre's ban on MediaOne Channel for two days, seeks response from I&B Ministrytext_fields
The Kerala High Court has stayed the operation of the order of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting revoking the license of Media One Channel and removing the name of the channel from the list of permitted channels for two days. The matter was heard by Justice Nagaresh who posted the matter on Wednesday.
"The implementation of Exhibit P1 (impugned order) shall be deferred till the day after tomorrow," the Court observed in its order.
The court has also issued notice to Planetcast Media Services Ltd, the third respondent, and directed the Union government counsel to get detailed instructions on the matter. and respond with its explanation.
Appearing for the Union Government, the Additional Solicitor General S. Manu vehemently objected to the passing of an interim order citing that it was not an essential service, reports LiveLaw for which the Court opined that the broadcasting should not be disrupted till the case was decided and passed an interim order
The developments ensued in a writ petition filed by the television channel hours after the Ministry suspended its telecast citing security concerns. The Centre had earlier issued permission enabling the petitioner channel to uplink and downlink TV programmes, and this permission was valid till 29.09.2021.
Senior Advocate Sreekumar appearing for the petitioner admitted that the channel was issued with a show-cause notice by the union government on January 5, 2022, asking why the Centre should not revoke its license in consideration of national security and public order, reports Live Law
However, it was pointed out that in response to this notice, the company had requested not to proceed with the notice without affording an opportunity of earing and that they were not informed of the reasons why the security clearance was denied.
Nevertheless, he argued that the Ministry proceeded to revoke the permission granted to the petitioner with immediate effect, thereby removing the channel from the list of permitted channels, says the LiveLaw report.
The counsel added that such a notice could only be served by the Ministry of Home Affairs, and not the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
In its plea filed through Advocate Rakesh K, the channel had also contended that it has not involved itself in any sort of anti-national activity. Therefore, it had prayed that considering the huge investment involved in the business, the order of the Ministry be withdrawn.
The petition had also alleged that the rash move by the Union government without affording an opportunity of hearing or informing the particulars of their contravention jeopardised the channel. The petition also added that it was an apparent violation of principles of natural justice and therefore liable to be set aside.
Meanwhile, following the Court order, the channel has resumed broadcasting Monday evening. The channel can be viewed here in Youtube