MIB appellate authority upholds Bhusawal Cable’s MSO registration cancellation
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4 months ago 06:29:15am

MIB appellate authority upholds Bhusawal Cable’s MSO registration cancellation

New Delhi, 03-May-2022, By IBW Team

India’s Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) has said it suspended the registration of about 276 MSOs in April, though the reasons were not publicly outlined. However, the MIBs also stated that despite the latest action, the total number of MSOs in the country stood at 1761 at the end of April 2022. The number includes MSOs whose registrations were suspended. From the data put on the website of the Ministry, it is not clear whether the MSOs whose registrations got suspended could get back to delivering normal services as and when the objections raised by the government were addressed and anomalies in the registrations were rectified. A few of the suspended MSOs --- as highlighted by the MIB --- did change the structure of their companies from partnership to proprietorship entities. The list of suspended MSOs could be viewed on the MIB website at https://mib.gov.in/sites/default/files/List%20of%20Registered%20MSOs%20as%20on%2030.04.2022.pdf. There were four MSOs whose registrations were cancelled/surrendered during the month of April. The applications of Shivam Cable & Broadband Private Limited of East Medinipur in West Bengal and Gujrata State's Bhuj-based Rallyon Technology were rejected by the MIB owing to suppression of vital information. In March 2022 also MIB had rejected the application of two MSOs as they had withheld relevant information from the government. The registration of Panduranga Cable Network of Telengana was cancelled in April 2022 due to non-operation. Ditto for Karnataka’s RK Digital Cable TV Network. As per a government order of 2017, all registered MSOs, unless indicated in the registration order specifically, can operate anywhere in India.

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB)’s appellate authority, after a review of the case, has upheld cancellation of the MSO registration of Bhusawal Cable Network Pvt. Ltd. on the ground that it has been affirmed it was pirating DD FreeDish signals for retransmission on its own cable network.

“ (An) earlier decision to cancel the MSO registration of M/s Bhusawal Cable Network Pvt. Ltd vide the Ministry’s

Order dated 23/11/2021 is upheld. However, 7 days’ time, w.e.f the date of issue of this Order, is (being) given to BCN for winding up its operations as an MSO,” a note from MIB Secretary Apurva Chandra stated, adding the appeal “stands disposed of ”.

The week’s time to wind down ops has been given to BCN to enable informing its customers (by running a scroll on the network) of the shuttering so they could make alternative arrangements for their cable TV services.

BCN had filed a review appeal before MIB’s appellate authority — in this case ministry’s top official Chandra — against the Ministry’s original order dated November 23, 2021 that had cancelled the MSO’s registration after proper investigations had been carried out on a complaint filed related to signal piracy.

BCN was found to be retransmitting the mandatory, as well as pay, TV channels on its network after taking the feed from pubcaster Doordarshan’s FTA DTH platform, FreeDish, in clear violation of provisions of the Copyright Act, 1957, which also resulted in violation of Rule 6(3) of the Cable Television Networks Rules, 1994 and terms and conditions of MSO registration granted by the government.

On BCN challenge that as MIB was not the copyrights owner of the TV channels and their content, it could not invoke the copyrights rules, MIB noted: “The Ministry is not claiming to be the owner of copyright in the case, but only exercising its right to take action on the violation of terms and conditions of granting registration to the Appellant (BCN).”

It further explained, “The cancellation of registration by the Ministry neither prohibits Authorised Officer to proceed with filing complaints before the court nor copyright owners to take action as per law. Therefore, the legal ground taken by the Appellant is also not maintainable.”

MIB had granted provisional MSO registration to BCN, under the digital addressable system regime, in the States of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh in 2015. Subsequently, it was given pan-India registration in 2017. The registration to BCN was subject to compliance of certain terms and conditions.


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