Radio Interference: Music Broadcast Pvt. v. Union of India

Throughout the annals of precedent there are catenas of cases which are ignored. Their insignificance arises from the common restatements which they contain rather than the novel propositions they advance. The TDSAT decision in Music Broadcast Pvt. Ltd. v. Union of India, Petition no. 73 © of 2008, 29th April 2009 is one such case. The facts of the case demonstrate two juggernauts which stand in the path of quicker roll-out of broadcasting and telecom services. The first is the inability of the regulators and the private players to reach an optimum price for the licenses of services, often the high cost of the license makes the operation of the service commercially inevitable. Secondly, what compounds the delay is the bureaucratic system of completion of formalities for the operation of services. The facts of the case bear out that both these causes resulted at first, in delay and eventually non implementation of a FM broadcast license in Nagpur and Patna. Absence of price optimization and bureaucratic delay are symptomatic of telecom and broadcast licenses. With time I hope this decision is not relegated to the annals of the ancient but becomes a strange and curious precedent in the legal landscape, as the cases which contain the facts about the 7 year waitlists for a telephone connection. I may caution that though the decision contains the aspects of the post in passing (obiter), these are important and common themes present in several cases of telecom, and broadcasting disputes.

The full text of the decision is available on the following link. I have also prepared a case brief which is available on the following link. The decision has an interesting commentary on the law of unconditional guarantee and is a recommended read!

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