: The Madras High Court has declined to grant interim injunction restraining local cable operators including Tamil Nadu Arasu Cable Television from transmitting the cable TV signals in analogue mode or operating analogue head end or importing cable TV signals from Non-DAS area or rolling out cable TV signals without DAS licence to the consumers within Chennai Metropolitan area.
Justice Vinod K.Sharma said, “It cannot be said that the applicant has prima facie case to seek injunction nor the balance of convenience is in favour of him is not likely to suffer any irreparable loss,” while dismissing an application filed by T.Saikrishnan.
In the suit, the plaintiff claimed that he is in cable business for last several years after getting valid licence from the postal department. He is operating in and around Virugambakkam in Chennai. While so, other local cable operators including Arasu cable in the cable business were transmitting signals in and around the area and other areas of city without obtaining necessary licence.
The Central Government issued a notification in last November 11, implementing Digital Addressable System (DAS) to cities including Chennai Metropolitan Area and the import of signals from analogue transmission has been made illegal. It also required to obtain a licence from the Central government for operation as Multi System Operator (MSO) for operating a control room and to provide signals to cable operators in DAS notified area.
He contended that the High Court also refused to stay the implementation of DAS in city limits. While so, cable operators, without possessing DAS licences, were operating analogue signals for re-transmission in DAS notified area and offering those illegal signals at a throwaway price. He would be put to great loss, if the interim injunction is not granted.
Arasu Cable Television got itself impleaded as party and filed the counter. It submitted that the applicant had not come to the court with clean hands and filed the application at the instigation of some vested interest who did not want the government to operate the cable TV business.
P.H.Arvindh Pandian, Additional Advocate General, contended that the Union government already issued MSO licence to Arasu cable in April 2008 which was valid up to 2013 and it also applied for DAS licence with the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and the application was still pending. Arasu Cable was running cable TV network in public interest to provide transmission.
Finding no merit in the application, Mr.Justice Sharma said that “It is admitted that the cable operators including Arasu cable are providing only analogue system and therefore, violating law for which they can be prosecuted under section 11 and section 16 of the Cable Television Networks(Regulations) 1995.
Answering the question on whether the applicant could maintain this application for grant of interim injunction, the Judge said, “No.”
The Judge viewed that under the Act, the aggrieved person could file an appeal for taking action against persons or authority. “The remedy for violation is provided under the Act under section 11 and 16 whereas civil suit is barred in view of law laid down by the Supreme Court”, added Mr. Justice Sharma.