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Several DAS III petitions may be transferred to Division Bench of Delhi High Court

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NEW DELHI: The Digital Addressable System (DAS) Phase III legal wrangle is moving on, albeit slowly and steadily.  Lawyers appearing on behalf of the multi-system cable TV operators (MSO) will inform a single-judge bench of the Delhi High Court about a large volume of cases relating to DAS III have challenged constitutional provisions.

Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva, will on 18 October 2016, transfer to a Division Bench matters that have challenged provisions in the Constitution. This directive had been given by Justice Sachdeva in the last hearing on 5 October 2016.

Senior lawyers said that as some of the cases were already pending with the bench headed by the Chief Justice, these will go to that bench, and the single bench will continue to hear other petitions.

Justice Sachdeva had last month issued notice on two more petitions related to Phase III of DAS – filed by Om Systems of Mumbai and Digiana.

The cases include an application by the Indian Broadcasting Foundation for being impleaded in the case

The cases that were listed on that day included the Rohtak Cable Operators’ Association, Andhra Pradesh MSOs Welfare Federation, Multi System Operators’ Welfare Association, Sai Big Star Welfare Association, Sree Devi Digital Systems, Federation of Telangana MSO, DEN Manoranjan Satellite, Victory Digital, Sri Chowdeshwary Cable Network, Shyam Baba Cable Network, Panchajanya Media, Bharat Digital Cable Network, and Yogesh Cable Networks.

In the hearing on 26 September 2016, the Dvision bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Ms Sangita Dhingra Sehgal had held that two matters filed by Indusind Media & Communication Ltd and Bhima Riddhi Digital Services were challenging the challenge to the constitutional validity of certain provisions of Maharashtra Entertainment Duty Act, 1923 as amended by Maharashtra Entertainment Duty (Amendment and Continuance) Act, 2014 and not the validity of the Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable Services) Interconnection (Digital Addressable Cable Television Systems) Regulations 2012.

The Central Government counsel said appropriate steps would be taken before the Supreme Court to get these matters re-transferred to the respective High Courts and so the cases were adjourned sine die.

Of the remaining, one by Rajasthan Cable Operators Foundation was dismissed as no one appeared for the petitioners, and orders reserved in two others including one by Nasik Zilla Cable Operators Association after hearing. The petition by Radiant Digitek Networks Pvt Ltd was adjourned to mid-October.

The Supreme Court had on 1 April this year accepted the plea of the Central Government that ‘it would be just and proper' for this Court to transfer to Delhi High Court all cases pending indifferent High Courts, many of which had given injunction orders.

A total of 62 cases had been filed by some multi-system operators (MSOs) in various courts in the country for extension in the deadline of Phase lll. Out of these 62 cases, 12 cases had been disposed off by respective courts and 3 cases had been withdrawn by the petitioners.

(The Bombay High Court had earlier this year made a reference to the Kusum Ingots case which had said that if one high court gives an order, others can give similar orders if similar circumstances exist. indiantelevision.com had reported in January this year that the MIB had told the Punjab and Haryana high court that it had '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 high courts’).

Also read:

Notice issued to Union of India on five DAS Phase III petitions

Two more DAS cases put off to Oct. in Delhi HC

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