Cable TV

Allahabad HC accepts Govt's view to not press on DAS Phase III

NEW DELHI: Taking note of the Government position that “it will not press for requirement of having a set top box as of now,” the Allahabad High Court has put off to 28 January, a petition by the Allahabad Cable TV Operators Welfare Society seeking extension of the deadline of implementation of Phase III of digital addressable system (DAS).


Justice Dilip Gupta and Justice Mukhtar Ahmad in their order said they did not feel the need of any interim order at this stage.


The Court took note of the letter from an under secretary in the Information and Broadcasting Ministry citing that according to legal opinion, the extension order issued by the Bombay High Court was valid for the entire country.


The letter was written to Assistant Solicitor General Chetan Mittal with regard to a similar case in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, which was then dismissed as infructuous.  


Counsel Vivek Singla had told the Punjab and Haryana High Court that “the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India has decided not to press the requirement of having a STB as for now till the decision of the cases, which are pending before various other Honourable High Courts.”


The Ministry had also sent to Mittal a detailed note on the issue, apart from orders by the Hyderabad and Bombay High Courts.


The Bombay High Court had relied on the Supreme Court order in the Kusum Ingots and Allous Ltd case where the apex Court had said that a High Court could give an order similar to that given by other High Courts if the circumstances were similar.


The matter has already been stayed by other High Courts including Sikkim, Odisha, Chhattisgarh for the entire state, and for individual local cable operators in Karnataka and Kerala on the common plea that there was acute shortage in seeding of STBs.


However, Ministry secretary Sunil Arora had told earlier that the Centre would be moving the Supreme Court in this matter. Ministry sources said that the petition in the apex Court was likely to be an appeal against one High Court with an application that all other matters may also be heard simultaneously.

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