The Delhi High Court has upheld the Union government’s decision of not giving extension of time to private companies to implement FM radio projects in non-metro stations.
For FM broadcasting service in 40 cities, classified as metros and non-metros, the petitioner Vertex Broadcasting Co succeeded in bagging six stations, two metro and four non-metro. Separate license agreements were executed on October 30, 2000. Owing to delays, Vertex applied for an extension of the deadline to implement the FM project in Kolkata and in three non-metro stations.
Although extension was given for FM service in Kolkata, the government rejected its request regarding non-metro stations. Vertex sued saying it was a case of discrimination, since the reasons for seeking grant of extension in respect of metro and non-metro stations were not different.
Government counsels told the court that the metro licensees were required to form a consortium and enter into an agreement for common facilities such as power transmitter and transmitter tower. As such, their difficulty in meeting the deadline was considered genuine. This was not so in non-metro stations and hence 12 months for setting up the infrastructure was considered adequate.