By S.S. Selvanayagam
The Court of Appeal on 16 February further extended its order to maintain the status quo till 17 March in respect of the licenses issued for four frequencies allocated to Carlton Sports Network (CSN) allocated by the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC).
The Bench comprising Justices Vijith K. Malalgoda (President/CA) and S. Thurairajah fixed the matter for argument on 16 March.
The Court of Appeal on 12 December granted time till 17 January to Mass Media Ministry Secretary and TRC to file Objections in respect of the Writ petition filed by Carlton Sports Network Ltd. challenging the impugned decision to revoke its Television Broadcasting License. They had filed Objections accordingly.
CSN cited Parliamentary Reforms and Mass Media Minister Secretary Nimal Bopage, Minister Gayantha Karunatillake, TRC and its Director General Sunil S. Sirisena as Respondents.
Sanjeeva Jayawardane PC with Kaushalya Molligoda, Lakmini Warusevitane and Charitha Rupasinghe instructed by Nisanka Wijesinghe appeared for CSN. Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Rajaratnam appeared for the State.
CSN states it is engaged in carrying on the business of the operating of a terrestrial television network of the production of television program content for broadcast.
It claims it has not violated any of the terms and conditions contained in its license. It maintains the purported revocation has been resorted to, as a pre-emptive strike, without even affording it the basic right and concomitant safeguard of being issued some form of show cause or intimation of the allegations against it.
It contends that the right to be heard is indispensable, non-derogable, inalienable and indivisible right and safeguard.
It alleges the purported revocation by the Media Ministry Secretary is utterly and most grievously ultra vires (beyond his legal power or authority) and illegal, arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable and violative of the basic principles of natural justice.
It is seeking the Court to quash the purported decision by the Ministry Secretary and restrain the Secretary from interfering with the operation and function and broadcasts of its television channel.