SC rejects appeals against I&B ministry cancelling digital addressable system licence

Digicable Network India and Scod18 Networking can apply for fresh permission: Court

supreme court

The Supreme Court has turned down appeals made by Digicable Network India and Scod18 Networking against the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting cancelling their digital addressable system (DAS) licence. 

Justices Abhay Sapre and Indu Mahotra observed that both Digicable and Scod18’s arguments lacked merit and thus upheld the MIB’s cancellation orders. They, however, said the companies were free to apply for a grant of fresh permission. 

The division bench of the Bombay High Court had earlier dismissed appeals filed by the two companies against the MIB’s cancellation orders. MIB cancelled the DAS licences of Digicable and Scod18 in 2014 after the Ministry of Home Affairs denied security clearance. 

The two companies then challenged the cancellation order before the Bombay High Court but the writ petition was turned down. The HC orders were then challenged in the apex court. 

The bench noted that the order of cancellation was passed as per Rule 11C and hence it was rightly upheld by the High Court in the impugned order. 

It further contended that the grant of permission was subject to security clearance from the central government.

“In this case, admittedly the appellant failed to obtain the security clearance as provided under Rule 11C of the Rules. It was a mandatory requirement as provided under Rule 11C of the Rules. Since the grant of permission was subject to obtaining of the security clearance from the concerned ministry, the competent authority was justified in cancelling the conditional permission for want of security clearance,” the bench said in its judgment. 

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