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Red FM plea to participate in auctions not maintainable; Govt to HC

Red FM plea to participate in auctions not maintainable; Govt to HC

The Union Government today told the Delhi High Court that the plea of Red FM to participate in the stage-III of FM auctions was not maintainable as it had sought judicial review of its policy decision.

Submitting a detailed affidavit to a division bench comprising Justice Badar Durrez Ahmed and Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) said, “The present petition to grant security clearance to the petitioner is misconceived and not maintainable as the relief amounts to seeking judicial review of the administrative decision of declining the security permission to the petitioner which is essentially in the domain of policy of the government.”

The Centre today filed an affidavit in compliance with the Court order on Wednesday which had issued notice to it after hearing a plea of Digital Radio Broadcasting Ltd, which runs Red FM, and has sought reply from it.

Red FM is an associate company of Kalanithi Maran-promoted Sun TV Group. “The scope of the present petition cannot be stretched and this court cannot transgress the limits by sitting on appeal over the action of the government based on the input from intelligence agencies in denying security clearance to the petitioner,” the Ministry has further said in its affidavit.

The Centre has also said that security clearance was declined to Digital Radio on the basis of inputs received against former Telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran, Kalanithi Maran and Sun TV.

Digital Radio Broadcasting Ltd had moved the High Court against the Ministry of I&B’s decision to refuse its radio channel, Red FM, the permission to participate in the third phase of auctions.

As per the plea of Red FM, their application to participate in the process of auctioning was rejected as they were not given the mandatory security clearance by the Union Home Ministry on the ground that Kalanithi Maran, a shareholder in the radio channel, was facing prosecution in a money laundering case.

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