Direction To Produce MHA Files Was Passed Behind Our Back: MediaOne In Its Appeal Before Supreme Court
In the Special Leave Petition filed by Madhyamam Broadcasting Limited before the Supreme Court, it has contended that the direction of the Division Bench of the Kerala High Court to produce the files relating to the application of MediaOne for renewal of its license was passed behind its back.
The Division Bench of Kerala High Court comprising of Chief Justice S. Manikumar and Justice Shaji P. Chaly had dismissed the appeal filed by Madhyamam Broadcasting Ltd., the company that owns the Malayalam news channel MediaOne against the Single Judge's Judgment upholding the restriction on the telecast of the channel.
In its Judgment, the Divison Bench states that it had directed the files to be placed before it. "In fact, in compliance with the directions issued by this Court, the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, has produced two files relating to M/s. Madhyamam Broadcasting Limited, one in relation to 'Media One Life' and 'Media One Global' and the other relating to 'Media One' TV'", the Court says in its Judgment.
The channel states in its SLP filed before the Supreme Court that, "It is submitted that the matter was heard by the Division Bench on 10.02.2022 and the arguments of both sides concluded on that very day and the Judgment reserved. Therefore, there was no occasion for DivisionBench to pass that order directing the Respondent No.1 to produce the files nor has any subsequent order has been passed in the knowledge of Petitioner. Therefore, this direction to produce the file is passed behind the back of the Petitioner. Petitioner has been caught completely unawares insofar as this is concerned".
It is also contented in the SLP that the renewal of the license was a matter of right of the company as per Clause 9 and 10 of the Uplinking and Downlinking Guidelines and that the Division Bench erred in interpreting the same to hold that even for renewal, security clearance is an inseparable link.
The channel also contends that the reasons for the decision of the MHA were not made available to the channel and that the conclusion of the Division Bench after perusing the MHA file is contrary to the law laid down by the Supreme Court. "It is submitted that the principles of natural justice can go by only in very rare and exceptional circumstances", the SLP states.
It is stated in the SLP that the security clearance of the channel has never been revoked during the ten years it operated and that the channel has never been held guilty of an infraction as per the extant rules and regulations.
It is also stated in the petition that the non-renewal of the license has resulted in depriving the livelihood of over 350 citizens who are in the employment of the channel.