For violating conditional access system norms in metropolitan area

The Madras High Court has refused to direct the city police Commissioner to take action against Kal Cables Private Ltd and Sumangali Cable Vision (SCV) for allegedly airing pay channels in the basic free-to-air tier in violation of the norms for the Conditional Access System (CAS) in force in the metropolitan area.

Justice V Dhanapalan dismissed a writ petition from a Kancheepuram-based cable operators' association, which contended that SCV, a unit of Kal Cables Private Ltd, had been transmitting pay channel signals in the free-to-air mode without the aid of Set Top Boxes.

The petitioner, Cable Operators' Association of Tamil Nadu, Kancheepuram, represented by its president A.P. Murukhadasan said it was illegal to transmit pay channels as free-to-air ones in Chennai Metropolitan Area after it was notified in 2003 as an area in which transmission of cable channels was through CAS.

Cable operators suffered losses as a result of such action.

The petitioner said his association had given a representation on March 29, 2010 to the Commissioner of Police, Greater Chennai, the authorised officer to take action against cable operators and networks contravening the provisions of the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act.

As there was no action, the association approached the court.

Dismissing the writ petition, Mr. Justice Dhanapalan said a perusal of the material revealed that no member of the petitioner association had made any complaint, except a representation for a general grievance.

The aggrieved or affected person should have made a specific complaint for the matter to be dealt with. The petition was not maintainable as in the absence of any complaint, no case was made out by the association, the judge said.

On the merits of the case, the judge noted that a police inspector had inquired into the association's complaint and reported that he could not conclude that pay channels were being telecast without set top boxes in the notified area.

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