Photo: Mint
Photo: Mint

SC dismisses govt’s plea against Phase III licence for Red FM

SC rejected a Central govt plea over a dispute regarding the issue of a Phase III licence to Red FM, owned by Kalanidhi Maran's Sun TV

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday rejected a Central government plea over a dispute regarding the issue of a Phase III licence to Red FM, owned by south Indian media baron Kalanidhi Maran’s Sun TV Network Ltd.

The rejection means the radio channel can continue broadcasting.

Last year, Red FM, a part of Digital Radio Broadcasting, a part of Sun TV Network, was refused the chance to participate in phase III FM auctions by the information and broadcasting ministry on grounds that the home ministry didn’t grant it security clearance.

Digital Radio Broadcasting then moved the Delhi high court, which allowed it to participate in the phase III auctions in July. The Union government appealed this order before the apex court.

An apex court bench comprising justices J. S. Khehar and C. Nagappan said that there was no reason to stall Red FM’s application based on security clearance as the provisions were restricted to clearance for either the company or its directors.

“Your provision is limited to...the company as well as the directors have to be security-cleared," the court said. “Is there any misuse (of the spectrum/radio channel) at any stage? It’s an entertainment channel. What security threat does it pose?," the court asked.

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