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The Madras High Court today granted interim relief to Kal Cables, a Sun Network-owned company and a multiple-system operator (MSO) of television channels through cable, enabling them to continue transmitting signals in analogue mode.
Kal Cables had filed a petition seeking interim stay on a central government order insisting on MSOs to transmit in digital mode and as a consequence permit them to operate in analogue mode.
Hearing the petition, Justice M Duraiswamy passed interim orders granting interim injunction on the central government order and directed the Additional Solicitor General to file a counter affidavit on the plea in a week's time.
The Information and Broadcasting ministry had announced March 31, as the cut-off date for digitisation of cable television across the country. Soon after expiry of the cut- off date, the licenses of MSOs who failed to comply with digitisation were cancelled by the ministry.
"Tamil Nadu Arasu Cable TV Corporation, a state government undertaking is one such MSO. Initially they had license to operate in analogue mode. But after digitisation of cable TV operations, Arasu cable was not permitted to operate in digital mode by the ministry," the petitioner said.
Suddenly to the utter shock and surprise of all the MSOs, the ministry on April 17, granted license to Arasu cable to operate in digital mode and in addition granted three months time to switch its operations to digital mode, the petitioner said.
Further, through a communication dated June 21, the time was extended till August 17, the petitioner said.
The petitioner claimed that the act of the ministry was in total violation of law.
"When the entire nation has been digitised and all the MSOs had switched to digital mode and defaulters license being cancelled, allowing Arasu Cable alone to operate in analogue mode is against the right to equality guaranteed by the constitution."
The petitioner moved the court as their representation to permit them also to operate in analogue mode on par with Arasu cable has not been considered by the ministry.
Contending that equals should be treated equally, the petitioner wanted the court to grant interim stay against the ministry from insisting on transmitting in digital mode and as a consequence permit them to operate in analogue mode.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)