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SC rejects Radio One's plea on frequency allocation

The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed Mumbai-based Radio One's petition challenging a TDSAT order, reports Satya Prakash.

india Updated: Nov 04, 2006 02:51 IST

The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed Mumbai-based Radio One's petition challenging a TDSAT order rejecting the plea of the Mid Day Group-controlled FM channel against shifting of their frequency from 92.5 MHZ to 94.3 MHZ in Mumbai.

Upholding the October 18 order of the TDSAT, a Bench of Justice BN Agrawal and Justice PP Naolekar said, "We find no infirmity in the Tribunal's order."

The Bench rejected Radio One's plea for extension of time from November 27 to December 31 to switch over from its existing frequency 92.5 MHZ to 94.3 MHZ, the new frequency allotted to them in Mumbai. It also declined their plea for a single frequency across the country.

The group was allocated the frequency 94.3 MHZ for its Radio Stations in Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore and Pune in June this year while the frequency assigned to its Radio Station in Ahmedabad was 95 MHZ.

In fact, the Wireless Planning and Operation Wing (WPC), which allocated the frequencies, turned down its request for the frequency 92.5 MHZ or 92.7 MHZ in the six cities and asked it to shift from the frequency 92.5 even in Mumbai.

The WPC direction to Radio One to shift from frequency from 92.5 MHZ to 94.3 MHZ in Mumbai came in view of the fact that the frequency 92.7 MHZ had been allocated to its rival BIG FM owned by ADLAB Films Ltd for their 45 Radio Stations across India.

Appearing for Big FM senior counsel Arun Jaitley and Malani Singhal submitted that it was done in accordance with WPC norms, which mandated a difference of a certain MHZ between the frequencies allocated to two FM Radio Stations. They also opposed the extension of time for shifting, as it would delay the launch of BIG FM.

Radio One had challenged the WPC's direction before the TDSAT, which dismissed their plea on October 18. Thereafter, they moved the Supreme Court against the TDSAT order.

The petitioners had sought to assail the TDSAT's order as being completely "arbitrary, unreasonable, contrary to law and motivated by private interest".

They pointed out that they had been operating on the said frequency of 92.5 MHZ for the last four years and were never in breach of any of the terms and conditions of the Licence Agreement or the Wireless Operating Licence.

Further, the appellants submitted that they invested huge amounts of money in creating a listener base and goodwill, which was associated with the frequency 92.5 MHZ and the WPC direction shall unjustly benefit the new private broadcaster and cause irreparable loss to it. But the SC dismissed the petition, as it found no fault with the Tribunal's order.

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First Published: Nov 04, 2006 02:51 IST