Friday, August 04, 2006

Cable TV company claims Rs 100m compensation - The Daily Mirror 4th Aug 2006

The Supreme Court yesterday(3rd) made directions for a compromise settlement on consent of all parties to expedite the operation of the CBNSat transmission with safeguards being introduced to minitor it.

The Bench comprising Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva, N.K. Udalagama and Andrew Somawansa observed that the equipment in issue had been seized and sealed on June 6 by a Magistrate court order. Provision was given to the petitioner SonicNet Technologies (Pvt) Ltd., to inspect and service the equipment and also if necessary to carry out a test transmission as the equipment was of a sophisticated nature.

The court also directed to expedite process of licensing and listed the matter to be taken up on August 23.

The petitioner cited Chief Inspector U.K. Mahindadasa, Superintendent of Police A.R. Vaidyalankara and Sub Inspector L. Tilak Bandara, all of Police Commercial Crime Unit 11, the IGP and the Attorney General as respondents.

The petitioner states that CBN is an associate company situated at No. 83, George R. De Silva Mawatha, Colombo 13.

It said that the Minister issued a license on the recommendation of the TRC for it to operate an External Gateway for International Telecommunications (EGO License) valid until January 31, 2013.

Since May 2005, it has been responsible for providing serveral television channels such as BBC World, CNN News and National Geographic Channel to over 20,000 homes throughout the island.

It stated that the Rupavahini Corporation procured its services to link up with the Palali Ari Base for three months without any charge unconditionally and the said facility was subsequently discontinued since the said corporation had installed its own Satellite Up-Link station.

Petitioner stated that it was issued a license for allocation of frequencies for the uplinking of video streams of circket matches in Colombo for the period from July 13 to August 13 in 2004. However it did not subsequently peoceed with the said uplink due to commercial reasons.

It aleged that on June 6, the first three respondents wronfully, unlawfully and/or without any right thereto sealed and siezed its equipment and prevented its services.

The petitioner pleaded that the respondents claimed that they sealed and seized the premises under an order of Magistrate. Petitioner contends that the Magistrate did not order or authorise to do so.

The Petitioner alleged that the aforesaid actions of the respondents are arbitary, capricious, unlawful and without basis and/or ultravires causing irreparable loss and damage to it.

Tjhe petitioner is asking court to grant compensation of Ras 100 million and an interim order directing the respondents to remove the seal and seizure of its equipment and not to obstruct it from using the said premises.

Presidents Counsel Romesh De Silva witgh Sugath Caldera, Riad Ameen and Eraj De Silva instructed by G.G. Arulpragasam apeeared for the petitioner. Additional Solicitor General Sathya Hettige and Senior Sate Counsel Sunathi Dharmawardana appeared for 1st to 5th respondents and the Attorney General.

Presidents Counsel D.S Wijesinghe appeared for the intervenient petitioner, Mass Media and Information Minister. Presidents Counsel Palitha Kumarasinghe apeared for the TRC.

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