MSO says Arasu Cable TV Corporation cut cables laid by it

The Madras High Court on Thursday dismissed a writ petition by a Multi-System Operator (MSO) seeking to restrain the Tamil Nadu Government from interfering with the peaceful running of its cable service business.

The petitioner, Kal Cables Pvt.Ltd, Mylapore, said the government launched the Tamil Nadu Arasu Cable TV Corporation Limited on September 2 this year without any infrastructural facilities of its own.

The television corporation in order to distribute the free channels through operators/affiliates illegally cut the cables laid by the MSO and used the same to distribute its channels to cable operators in Coimbatore, Tirupur and Erode regions.

Justice N.Paul Vasanthakumar said the petitioner had filed only the receipts for having paid the track rent. Neither the application submitted, as required under the Tamil Nadu Municipalities Television Cable Installation Regulation Rules nor the provisional permission granted by the Commissioner had been filed. Also, NOC issued by the Commissioner had not been filed. On the contrary, it was the petitioner's contention that having received the track rent, permission was deemed to have been granted. Nowhere in the rules was it stated that if an application was submitted and no order was passed, permission/NOC was deemed to be granted. Thus, the Advocate-General was justified in contending that the petitioner was doing cable TV network not in accordance with the rules.

The judge said it was a well settled proposition of law that disputed questions of facts could not be agitated in writ proceedings filed under Article 226 of the Constitution. Applying decisions of the Supreme Court, he said that he was of the view that the writ petition was not maintainable. The remedy for the petitioner was either to approach the civil forum to establish the ownership of the cables or to invoke the Cr.P.C, if anyone was cutting or using the cables of the MSO. Granting such liberty, the judge dismissed the petition.