Chennai: Alliance Broadcasting Pvt Ltd., owned News and Current affairs channel, News7 Tamil, has obtained a temporary relief from the Delhi High Court as it granted interim stay on an order of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry withdrawing the permission given to a news and current affairs TV channel to operate due to lack of security clearance.
Delhi High Court passed the interim order against the plea filed by Alliance Broadcasting Pvt Ltd challenging the I&B ministry’s decision that was taken due to the lack of security clearance that was withdrawn by the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Alliance Broadcasting in its plea has alleged that the order of the ministry dated 23rd May, rejecting its application for renewal of the permission for a further period of 10 years was “illegal and unsustainable in law”. It also sought a direction to set aside the order of the I&B Ministry canceling the permission granted to operate the channel and rejecting the application for renewal for the next 10 years.
It also sought a direction to the ministry to proceed with its renewal application and disclose the reasons for withdrawal of security clearance by the MHA.
Justice Rajiv Shakdher sought the responses of the ministries Home Affairs and I&B on the petition and stayed the order of I&B ministry. The court listed the matter for further hearing in June during the summer vacations.
The central government standing counsel Ajay Digpaul in his submission said that the allegations against the company were serious and the decision to withdraw security clearance was based on the inputs of the Intelligence Bureau.
In January 2007, the I&B Ministry has granted permission to Alliance Broadcasting for uplink and downlink a News and Current affairs TV channel in English and other regional languages. The permission was granted for 10 years to the channel, which was initially known as ‘Real Estate’. Its name was changed to ‘News 7 (Tamil)’ in 2014.
On 29th November 2017, the I&B Ministry has issued a show cause notice in view of the withdrawal of security clearance from the MHA, the permission granted to operate the channel was liable to be revoked.
On 23rd April, the company was given a hearing by the joint secretary of I&B Ministry to present its contentions. However, on 23rd May, the I&B ministry passed an order rejecting the company’s contentions and ordered the channel to seize the operations.