MediaOne license revoked due to MHA’s national security concerns: Centre to Kerala HC

The Centre on Wednesday told the Kerala High Court that the recent decision to revoke the licence of Malayalam news channel MediaOne by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting was based on credible national security concerns flagged by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Bar and Bench reported.

However, the Central government refused to state what concerns were raised by MHA and contended that a party cannot insist on observing natural justice principles in a situation involving national security.

In a statement filed through Assistant Solicitor General S Manu, the Centre said that going by the decision of the Supreme Court in Ex-Armymen’s Protection Services P. Ltd Vs. Union of India and others, in a situation of national security, a party cannot insist for the strict observance of the principles of natural justice.

The channel was taken off air on January 31, following which they had approached the High Court and stated that there must be no interruption to the broadcasting of the channel as it had decided to defer Ministry’s order for two days, which ended today.

In its response, the Centre opposed the grant of any interim reliefs to the petitioner channel, saying it would defeat the purpose of the guidelines that are set in place for granting security clearance.

“The MHA has informed that denial of security clearance in the case on hand was based on intelligence inputs, which are sensitive and secret in nature, therefore, as a matter of policy and in the interest of national security, MHA does not disclose reasons for the denial. It is submitted that the interim order passed by this Hon’ble Court if continued is defeating the purpose of the relevant guidelines and objective of obtaining the security clearance of MHA”, the Centre said.

It also rejected the petitioner’s argument, stating that it had given a request to MHA for security clearance but got no response as Ministry does not directly communicate with companies.

“In this connection it is clarified that the applications for renewal is first examined in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and then Ministry sends the proposal to the MHA for security clearance. Thus, the contention of the petitioner that their request to MHA for security clearance is not replied is of no significance. MHA does not accept any direct communication from the companies,” said the Centre’s response.

(Inputs from Bar and Bench)


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