Regulators

The SC court judgement & TDSAT's powers

http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/smartcrop_800x800/public/images/regulators-images/2013/12/19/35_3.jpg?itok=I0kyplRg

MUMBAI: The broadcasting industry that has been fiercely fighting the ad cap regulation by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) got a jolt last Friday when the news emerged  that the Supreme Court, in a separate case, had declared that the Telecom Disputes Settlement Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) does not have power to deal with appeals over regulations framed by the authority.

The judgment in BSNL vs TRAI and others case came out on the Supreme Court web site today. It had some crucial points regarding what can be termed as ‘regulations’ and whether TDSAT has the authority to hear appeals against them. 

According to the judgment, the powers under Section 36 of the TRAI act are legislative and not administrative and by virtue of Section 37 of the Act, they are at par with rules framed by the Central Government thereby mandating them to be laid before both houses of Parliament. Thereafter, Parliament has the power to annul or modify the same. But there is ambiguity on what happens if it is not laid in parliament. Does it stand void? Or can it still be taken as a regulation?

The bench stated that ‘the Tribunals are competent to hear matters where the vires (read: powers) of statutory provisions are questioned. However, in discharging this duty, they cannot act as substitutes for the High Courts and the Supreme Court’ meaning that they cannot hear cases which go into legislative laws.  Although the Tribunal will have the power to test the vire of subordinate legislation the exception would be questions regarding the vires of its parent statute. ‘A Tribunal which is a creature of an Act cannot declare that very Act to be unconstitutional’ reads the judgment.

This makes the Tribunal incapable of deciding the fate of the ad cap case as it is a challenge to the validity of one of its parent statute.  

The TRAI Act, amended in the year 2000 brought judicial functions under the TDSAT and kept the legislative and administrative powers under the regulator.

The BSNL vs TRAI and others case verdict states: ‘In exercise of the power vested in it under Section 14(b) of the Act, TDSAT does not have the jurisdiction to entertain the challenge to the regulations framed by the Authority under Section 36 of the Act."

Now, if anyone wants to challenge the validity of the regulation framed under section 36, such as the ad cap regulation, the party has to file a petition before the High Court and not TDSAT. However, cases regarding the application of a regulation can still be taken to the TDSAT.

 

The ad cap regulation that has been challenged by the News Broadcasters Association (NBA) and others has now come under a cloud. The contention of the broadcasters is that regulation is not valid and TRAI does not have the authority to regulate content, let alone prosecute it. However, the TRAI claims that advertisements form a part of content and by the contract between licensor and licensee; it had come out with the Standards of Quality of service (Duration of advertisements in TV channels) (amendment) regulation 2013 under section 36 and section 11 of the TRAI act.

The judgement in the case has been reserved and according to lawyers from both sides, TDSAT will have to take into consideration this SC verdict and then give its final verdict on the case. Legally speaking, TRAI says it came out with an ad cap ‘regulation’ but the NBA says that TRAI has not fulfilled the laying requirement.

If the TDSAT’s verdict says that the case is dismissed then the next step for the NBA would be to challenge TRAI in the High Court, which seems to be most likely one. 

But it could also lead to some furrowed brows amongst the TV channel executives as  the stay order on TRAI not to take any coercive actions against channels that are not following the ad cap would be annulled and from then till the time the HC does not give a stay, TRAI could go back to taking its aggressive stance against broadcasters

Click here for the Supreme Court Verdict

Latest Reads

http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/07/13/MIB-2-Story.jpg?itok=CHFi2uxm
Supreme Court questions MIB’s digital chatter monitoring proposal

The government proposes, Supreme Court disposes. Well, almost. Not fully yet. Though, the apex court has questioned a Ministry of Information and Broadcasting proposal to monitor digital chatter and online footprint, observing today that if done it would be "like creating a surveillance state".

Regulators I&B Ministry
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/07/12/rathor.jpg?itok=LerAmHNZ
Comment: Why it’s important for Rathore at MIB to walk the (sports) talk

He may have started the #HumFitToh IndiaFit campaign that went viral on social media last month and had celebs and plebs posting images of their health routine.

Regulators I&B Ministry
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/07/12/ccm.jpg?itok=hpq93_54
CCI reduces penalty on broadcast companies for rigging bids

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) on Wednesday waived the penalty imposed on Globecast and reduced by 30 per cent the penalty imposed on Essel Shyam Communication Ltd (ESCl), rechristened Planetcast, for bid-rigging in tenders for procurement of end-to-end broadcasting services for various...

Regulators TRAI
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/07/09/TRAI-Story.jpg?itok=FL77A5H2
TRAI: Make STBs, content & telecom services disabled- friendly

With an aim to make communications and TV services more accessible to people with disabilities (PWDs), the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has come out with a series of recommendations, including a confusing one suggesting that 50 per cent TV channels to be developed in PWD-friendly and...

Regulators TRAI
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/07/04/Untitled-1.jpg?itok=eLYU_9Gj
Tata Sky mulls fresh petition against TRAI tariff rollout

MUMBAI: Indian DTH operator Tata Sky is exploring options of filing a fresh petition in Delhi High Court against a Telecom Regulatory Authority of India directive to implement a new tariff regime from 3 July. Industry sources indicated that though Tata Sky withdrew its petition filed in the...

Regulators TRAI
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/07/04/sb.jpg?itok=yJr8e0p2
VCPL to contest SEBI order on NDTV share acquisition

Following the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI)’s directive to make an open offer for acquiring NDTV shares, Vishvapradhan Commercial Pvt Ltd (VCPL) has decided to appeal against the order with the Securities Appellate Tribunal.

Regulators TRAI
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/07/03/trai.jpg?itok=YYt3LA4r
TRAI says b'cast & cable tariff, inter-connect orders come into effect 3 July

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) today issued a statement stating that its tariff order for the broadcasting and cable sector will come into effect from 3 July 2018 as judicial compliances have been complied with.

Regulators TRAI
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/07/02/TRAI-Story.jpg?itok=vJeS8ZHI
TRAI fines Jio, Airtel, others for not meeting service quality norms

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) rapped leading operators, including Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular on the knuckles for failing to meet the Quality of Service standards in the December quarter, reported news agency PTI.

Regulators TRAI
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/06/27/Trai_800-.jpg?itok=UXwiqChf
Comment: TRAI uplinks progressive recommendations; now MIB, others need to downlink them

The approximately Rs 1,400 billion Indian broadcasting and cable sectors, reeling under the impact of a slow economy and hemmed in by erratic policy-making, would be breathing a bit easy after TRAI’s recommendations on issues related to uplink and downlink of TV channels and teleports.

Regulators TRAI

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories