| 29 Jan 2023
I&B awaiting note on denial of security clearance to Sun Group from Home Ministry before moving Supreme Court

NEW DELHI: The Information and Broadcasting Ministry (I&B) is still awaiting detailed instructions from the Home Ministry on rejection of security clearance to the Sun TV group, even as the Government appears to have made up its mind to file a special leave petition in the Supreme Court challenging the orders of the Delhi and Madras High Courts with regard to Sun TV group participating in the FM Phase III e-auctions.

An I&B Ministry official said that the Home Ministry had been asked earlier and later reminded to send a detailed note on its reasons for rejection of security clearance. The official added that it was the I&B Ministry who will file the SLP, dealing with FM Radio and therefore, it needed to be clear on the reasons for rejection of security clearance.

Meanwhile, it is learnt that top officials of the Home Ministry are taking legal opinion on the issue of framing an SLP to challenge the order by the Delhi and Madras High Courts.

Delhi High Court had allowed Red FM, which is owned by Sun TV, to participate in Phase III of the first FM e-auction which commenced on 27 July.

It is expected that the government will take the ground that the two courts had not taken into consideration the pending criminal charges against Sun Group promoters including Kalanithi Maran who is one of the directors of Red FM, and the implication it has on national security and economic security.

Justices Badar Durrez Ahmed and Sanjeev Sachdeva of the Delhi High Court had said Clause 3.8 of the Notice Inviting Applications for the auction had reference only to the company and its directors and there is no mention of its shareholders. Both Dayanidhi Maran and Kalanithi Maran are shareholders and therefore the Clause does not apply to them.

The court had said that Digital Radio (Delhi) Broadcasting Ltd and Digital Radio (Mumbai) Broadcasting Ltd, which run Red FM in these two cities, have not been alleged to be vehicles of any transgression of law and have been functioning since 2002-2003 without there being any allegation regarding their functioning resulting in any security concerns.