Thursday, August 24, 2006

Defence Ministry clearance needed for satellite transmission - The Island 24th Aug 2006

Defence Ministry clearance and approval is needed for a satellite tranmsission licence under the SLRC Act Palitha Kumarasinghe P.C told the Supreme Court yesterday when he appeared for the TRC. The respondent in the fundamental rights violation application filed by the Sonic Net Technologies Private Limited, is challenging the seizure of their satellite transmission equipment and the sealing of their premises in Colombo on June 6th, 2006 by the CID.

Mr. Kumarasinghe said that the applications for licences were closed about a month back and the President had directed that thereafter, licences, issued under the SLRC Act should be granted only with Defence Ministry approval.

Counsel said that a committee comprising military personnel will study the issue and a report will be submitted to court, shortly. Any confidential documents will be submitted in a sealed envelope by counsel, for the perusal of Court.

Mr. Sathya Hettige, Additional Solicitor General said that, the Colombo Magistrate had permitted the servicing and the test transmission of the equipment. But general transmission was not allowed yet. He said that the earlier direction of the Supreme Court followed this issue. He wanted the status quo on this issue to remain the same for some time more and only test transmission and servicing should be allowed. The SC granted the request made by Mr. Hettige.

Romesh De Silva P.C who appeared for the petitioner said that his client had been operating for one year and both the SLTC and the TRC had made use of the clients good service. There had been no allegations against his client, whose premises were sealed on June 6th, 2006.

The TRC, the Minister of Media & Mass Communication and the CID will file further papers on the issue of granting satellite licence to Sonic Net Technologies and a few other similar companies.

The petition will be called before the Court again on September 18, 2006. Romesh De Ailva P.C, appeared with Sugath Caldera, instructed by G.G Arulpragasam for the petitioner, Sonic Net Technologies.

The Additional Solicitor General Sathya Hettige, appeared with the State Counsel Sumathi Dharmawardene, for the CID and the Attorney General,

Palitha Kumarasinghe P.C, appeared for the TRC. D.S Wijesinghe P.C, appeared for the Minister of Media and Mass Communication.

The Bench comprised, the Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva, Justice Saleem Marsoof and Justice Andrew Somawansa.

by Chitra Weerarathne

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