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LHC rules Pemra violated its own law while conducting DTH licence auction

LHC rules Pemra violated its own law while conducting DTH licence auction

The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Wednesday notified Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) that it had acted in violation of its own ordinance while conducting bidding for direct-to-home (DTH) licences last month.

The judgement, issued by a full bench headed by Justice Ayesha A. Malik, ruled in favour of broadcasters who had been barred from bidding on direct-to-home (DTH) licences held by Pemra

While explaining the court’s order, lawyer Asma Jahangir,

“The court ruled that sub-clause 3 of Article 13 of the Pemra Rules-2009 were against the Pemra Ordinance, 2002, and the Constitution.”

Jahangir had represented the Independent Newspaper Corporation (INC), one of the plaintiffs, in the case.

Article 13(3) and (4) of Pemra Rules-2009, which the court objected to, states that, “A licensee who owns, controls or operates directly or indirectly any other distribution service licence shall not be granted a landing rights permission or broadcast media licence.”

Jahangir was of the view that Pemra will now have to hold another auction as the previous one was held based on rules that LHC has now declared null.

The LHC had stayed the DTH licence bidding process by Pemra till a decision was issued on petitions challenging Pemra rules about granting licences. The stay order had been issued on identical applications filed earlier by the INC and others .

However, Pemra had challenged the LHC stay order in the Supreme Court, which allowed the auction to take place but held that the bidding process undertaken would remain subject to a final determination by the high court.

“Let the bidding process, already fixed for Nov 23, be held and take place at the time and venue already fixed. It is however made clear that no final award of bidding or contract would be made by the petitioner (Pemra),” said the order dictated by a three-judge Supreme Court bench headed by Justice Mushir Alam.=DNA

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