In a relief to radio channel Red FM, Delhi High Court today extended its licence to operate in the national capital as well as in Mumbai and Kolkata till further orders on the company’s plea seeking direction to the Centre to allow it to migrate to phase III from II.
Justice R S Endlaw extended the licence, which was to expire tomorrow, after the radio channel said that while other similar companies were allowed to migrate to phase III in Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai, Red FM has not been granted any such permission till date.
The court said the channel “shall be allowed to maintain and operate its FM radio channel under phase II regime till further orders” and listed the matter for further hearing on November 18.
It also issued notice to Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) and sought its response on the plea of Digital Radio Broadcasting Ltd, which runs radio operations under the name of Red FM.
Red FM, represented by senior advocate Harish Salve, told the court that it had communicated to the government its willingness to migrate to phase III but has received no response, including the amount to be paid for migration.
He said since the existing licence has not been extended and permission for migration has not been granted, Red FM will have to shut operations and will be off-air from October 1.
Salve and senior advocate Rajiv Nayar, appearing for the channel, said that on September 26 the company learnt that other radio operators, including Entertainment Network India Ltd which runs Radio Mirchi and Music Broadcast Private Ltd which runs Radio City, have been issued letters by government regarding steps to be taken for migration to phase III.
Digital Radio, in its plea, has sought enforcement of its right to migrate to FM phase III regime and maintain and operate its existing channel at Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata.
It alleged that the ministry has “deliberately without giving any reason” not taken the requisite steps to enable the channel to migrate from phase II to III regime despite fulfilment of all eligibility criteria for migration.
( Source – PTI )