In a massive boost to Republic TV, the Bombay High Court, on Friday has observed that Shiv Cable Sena is not a ‘statutory body’ to interfere or supersede Republic TV’s contract with its cable network operators. The Court also observed that if the cable network operators breach their contractual relationship with Republic, then the channel can approach appropriate authority for relief. The Shiv Sena-linked ‘Shiv Cable Sena’ had issued a communication ordering cable network operators to stop airing Republic TV and Republic Bharat on Thursday.
Bombay HC: ‘Shiv Cable Sena’s order has no effect’
The Bombay HC has clarified that Shiv Cable Sena’s communication has no effect in law. The court also maintained that it has not been notified that any cable operator has stopped airing the two channels after Shiv Cable Sena’s communique, as Republic sought a restraint on the Sena-linked body’s order. Moreover, Bombay HC has also advised the recipients of Shiv Cable Sena’s ‘intimidating communications’ to approach concerned law enforcement authorities if they wish to.
In response to Bombay HC’s observation, Republic’s legal team (Phoenix Legal Team), said, “We’re most grateful to the Hon’ble Bombay High Court in recognising the urgency of the matter and hearing Republic TV on such short notice. The order speaks for itself and, most pertinently, the observation that the Shiv Cable Sena is not a statutory authority to either supersede the licence granted to Republic TV or to interfere in the contractual/statutory relationship between Republic TV and the Cable TV operators. The court also observed that the communication issued by the Shiv Cable Sena had “no effect in law”. It is therefore only muscle power that can illegally threaten or coerce the cable operators in blocking the Republic TV channel but not the law.”
Shiv Sena-linked body seeks to block Republic
Earlier on Thursday, the Shiv Cable Sena issued an ‘order’ signed by Sanjay Raut’s brother Sunil Raut to cable network operators in Maharashtra to block Republic Bharat and Republic TV, after Republic’s investigative reports on the Sushant Singh Rajput case and the Disha Salian Case. Alleging ‘insult’ to CM Uddhav Thackeray, Home Minister Anil Deshmukh and Maharashtra police, the body which heads several cable network operators across Maharashtra has ordered them to block the two channels with immediate effect. The Pramukh Margdarshak of this body is ‘Saamana’ editor and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut. This order comes 2 days after Maharashtra police ‘illegally detained’ three Republic crew members over an investigative story.
Why has Anuj been ‘illegally detained’?
On Tuesday night, Anuj Kumar along with VJ Yashpaljit Singh and their Ola driver Pradeep Dilip Dhanavade had travelled to Karjat following a lead of an investigative story. In the wee hours of Wednesday, Maharashtra police detained all three to a four-day custody. Furthermore, Republic was not given a remand copy by the Maharashtra police, hindering our efforts to seek our team’s bail. Anuj and his colleagues have been denied legal representation.
The media house in its plea to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has highlighted Maharashtra police’s malafide move. Anuj is currently being interrogated in police custody at Karjat – asking him to reveal his sources, lead and the story he was pursuing. Anuj has also been denied legal representation, which has prompted Republic TV to move NHRC. The human rights body has confirmed receiving Republic’s plea.