Karnataka HC issues interim order restraining Power TV from broadcasting

The court's order came in response to two petitions: one from IPS officer BR Ravikanthe Gowda and the other from former Karnataka Legislative Council member from JD(S) HM Ramesh Gowda and his wife A Ramya Ramesh.
Karnataka High Court
Karnataka High Court
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The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday, June 25, issued an interim order restraining Kannada news channel Power TV and its affiliate Mitcoin Infraprojects from broadcasting content which has been in the forefront of reporting the sexual assault allegations against Prajwal Revanna and his brother Suraj Revanna, the grandsons of Janata Dal (Secular) patriarch and former Prime Minister HD Devegowda. 

The court observed that prima facie findings revealed that their licence to broadcast had not been renewed. Justice SR Krishna Kumar in his order said that the television broadcast has to be halted  until the court passes further orders. 

“It would be just and appropriate to direct respondent No.3 (Power Smart Media) / respondent No.5 (Mitcoin) and other private respondents (Directors of Power Smart Media and Mitcoin) not to continue with any broadcast and restrain all the private respondents from carrying on any broadcast activity till the next date of hearing,” the court order read.

“Till we decide it, you don't broadcast. Clients may tell you whatever they want, this is a show-cause notice from the Union government. You will have to contest this. Instead of contesting this, what you do is you give an application for change of something and say that this amounts to renewal?” Justice Kumar said according to the Bar and Bench. 

Kannada news channel Power TV has been the leading news channel which has provided extensive coverage on the sexual assault allegations against Prajwal Revanna and his brother Suraj Revanna. Power TV was the first to interview the survivors who alleged that they were raped by Prajwal Revanna. Following this interview, the survivors filed a complaint against the former MP on April 28. 

The news channel was also the first to break the news of sexual assault allegations against MLC Suraj Revanna. Power TV had interviewed the survivor who alleged that he was sexually assaulted at Suraj Revanna’s farmhouse. Presently, both the brothers are currently in police custody.

The court's order came in response to two petitions: one from IPS officer BR Ravikanthe Gowda and the other from former Karnataka Legislative Council member from JD(S) HM Ramesh Gowda and his wife A Ramya Ramesh. The petitioners argued that they were “victims” of Power TV's broadcasts. The objective of the plaintiffs for approaching the court against the news channel is yet to be verified.  

The petitioners argued that the news channel lacked the necessary licence to continue operations. They requested the court to direct the Union government to stop Power TV from broadcasting.

Previously, on February 9, the Union government had issued a show-cause notice to Power Smart Media Private Limited, which operates Power TV, regarding the alleged failure to renew its licence.

On April 23, Mitcoin Infraprojects had claimed to have a valid licence to operate following which Justice M Nagaprasanna had permitted news broadcasts to continue, provided the broadcaster had a valid licence.

However, on June 25, Justice Krishna Kumar found Mitcoin’s licence had expired in October 2021 and that no conclusive evidence was presented to prove its renewal. The documents provided by Mitcoin’s counsel, which claimed an application for modifications as proof of an active licence, did not convince the court.

The matter is scheduled for the next hearing on July 9.

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