Tuesday, November 28, 2006

SonicNet granted permission to commence operation - Daily Mirror 28th Nov 06

The Supreme Court yesterday (27) granted interim relief to SonicNet Technologies (Pvt) Ltd permitting it to recommence the operation of its Communiq Broadband Network (CBN Sat) transmission with immediate effect.

The Bench comprising Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva and Justices N. G. Amaratunga and Saleem Marsoof also granted the petitioner company SonicNet Technologies leave to proceed with the fundamental rights application for the alleged infringements of its fundamental right to equality and equal protection of the law.

The matter came up on a motion filed pursuant to the proceedings of November 6. Having considered the submission of the petitioner, court made order permitting the petitioner to negotiate a sale of the equipment and facilities to another service provider.

This order specifically stated that the negotiations could be entered into by the petitioner on the basis that the order sealing the equipment would be vacated, when negotiations are finalised.

President's Counsel Romesh de Silva appearing for the petitioner submitted that the negotiations are now being finalised and the petitioner could sell the facility to the subsidiary of Dialog Telekom Ltd. Asset Media (Pvt) Ltd wholly subsidiary of the Dialog Telekom Ltd would purchase the shares of Communiq Broadband Network.

Counsel Romesh de Silva further submitted that Asset Media has already got licence under Section 28 of the Rupavahini Corporation Act (Media licence) permitting it to broadcast and that the Dialog Telekom has a licence under and in terms of Section 17 of the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission.

He submitted that pursuant to the sale agreement with the petitioner, Dialog and /or its subsidiary would be permitted to carry on the broadcast that were carried on by the petitioner prior to the seal.

He also submitted that the petitioner company has imported equipment which have not been cleared and is kept in the port premises and that since the TRC has not granted the clearance pending these proceedings, appropriate steps be taken by the TRC to ensure that the petitioner could clear his equipments.

Court accordingly granted the petitioner interim relief pleaded in the petition (d). Petitioner was permitted to recommence the service that were provided prior to the seizure and there will be no obstruction to the petitioner and / or Communiq Broadband being all companies owned by the same share-holders from carrying on the transmission that was done prior to the seizure. Since there is a possibility of resolving the matter, no date for objection for hearing is granted. The matter was listed to be mentioned on January 16.

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 –II the IGP, The TRC and the Attorney General as respondents.

President's Counsel Romesh de Silva with Sugath Caldera, Riad Ameen and Evaj de Silva instructed by G. G. Arulpragasam appeared for the petitioner. Additional Solicitor General Sathya Hettige with Senior State Counsel Sumathi Dharmawardana appeared for 1st to 5th respondents and the Attorney General. President's Counsel D. S. Wijesinghe appeared for the intervenient petitioner the Minister of Mass Media and Information. President's Counsel Palitha Kumarasinghe appeared for the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission. Sanjeewa Jayawardane with Rajeev Amarasuriya appeared for the Dialog Telekom.

By S.S.Selvanayagam

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