Cable TV

MIB to not press for DAS Phase III execution till High Courts rule on pending cases

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NEW DELHI: Faced by various High Courts extending the deadline of implementation of Phase III of Digital Addressable System (DAS), the Information and Broadcasting Ministry has told the Punjab and Haryana High Court that “it will not press for requirement of having a set top box (STB) as of now.”

In view of this, Justice Rakesh Kumar Jain dismissed as infructuous a petition by cable operator Parbobh Rattan seeking extension the ground that there was shortage of STBs.

Counsel Vivek Singla told the 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.”

Earlier, Assistant Solicitor General Chetan Mittal was informed through a letter by an under secretary, Anil Kumar, that legal opinion was clear that the interpretation of the Bombay High Court was clear that the earlier orders of the Hyderabad High Court relating to Andhra Pradesh and Telangana applied to the entire country.

This was stated in the letter asking Mittal to defend the petition before the Punjab and Haryana High Court and telling him that there was very little time for filing a counter-affidavit on the issue.

The Ministry also sent 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.

In this case, all the cases relate to shortage in seeding of STBs.

However, Ministry Secretary Sunil Arora had told Indiantelevision.com earlier that the Centre would be moving the Supreme Court shortly. 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.

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.

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