New Delhi : Telecom Dispute Settlement Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT)in its order on 29th October, has further tightened the noose of Telangana government by order the state government to file an affidavit as advised by the Solicitor General of India, assuring the regulator of protecting the MSOs in Telangana, who were also directed by TDSAT to resume the transmission of TV9 with in this week’s time.
Earlier in its order dated 14th October, the TDSAT took the extreme step of recommending the centre to cancel the license of errant MSOs in Telangana for their repeated failure in implementing the orders of TDSAT, asking them to resume the transmission of Telugu news channel TV9 and also invited the Solicitor general of India to offer a legal advice on 29th October to assess the impact of such mass termination of MSO licence, in view of protecting the interest of the general public, who will be unnecessarily deprived of their entertainment.
Yesterday, The additional Advocate General of Telangana state appeared before TDSAT and submitted a copy of the letter dated 25.10.2014 from the Chief Secretary of Telangana to the Director General of Police, Telangana requesting to give full protection to the personnel and properties of respondent MSOs.
However, Mr. Mehta and Mr. Bhatia Counsel appearing for the MSOs argued that the letter produced by the Additional Advocate General is from one office to another office and would by lying in some official file, completely unknown to the general public.
They also submitted that even if the concerned officers were sincere in following the directions contained in the letter they will come to the MSOs rescue only after the MSOs had suffered damages at the hands of unruly mobs who continue to believe to have the political sanction to “punish” any MSO broadcasting the petitioner’s channel.
Mr. Mehta demanded that in case the State Government issued a public notice or a press release warning against any use of violence against any MSO for broadcasting the petitioner’s channel, that would make its intent clear and well known to all and sundry and the MSOs will be able to resume the broadcast of the petitioner’s channel without any apprehension of violence.
Finally, The learned Solicitor General suggested that “the State Government should be asked to file an affidavit incorporating the statements made by its Additional Advocate General before the Tribunal (as recorded in the order dated 22.9.2014) as also the contents of the letter dated 25.10.2014 from the Chief Secretary to DG Police. He submitted that no State Government would like itself to be seen in breach of an affidavit filed by it in a court/Tribunal and would feel obliged to act in accordance with the directions given by the Tribunal”.
TDSAT agreed up on the suggestions of the Solicitor General of India and directed the State of Telangana to file an affidavit to the effect smooth broadcast of the channel by the MSOs without any untoward incidents.
TDSAT also asked State Government, the petitioner and the respondent MSOs to give wide publicity to this order through publication and electronic media. The publicity given to this order should allay the misgiving of the MSOs and the MSOs would then be in a position to resume the broadcast of the petitioner’s channel as directed earlier.
Up on filing the affidavit, the Teleangana government and the MSOs will be forced to abide by their affidavit and there will be no further room to play delaying tactics. The order is expected to give a major relief to the broadcaster TV9 as they are suffering a huge loss due to fall in viewership and advertisement revenues.