Cable TV

Cable case hearing Wednesday

MUMBAI: A division bench of the Mumbai High Court comprising Chief Justice CL Thakker and Dr Dhananjay Chandrachud today postponed the hearing of the "much hyped up" cable case to 2:45 pm tomorrow.

Affected parties comprising of cable operators, multi-system operators (MSOs) politicians, broadcasters amongst others are hoping that the HC delivers its verdict tomorrow - exactly two and a half months before the conditional access system (CAS) gets implemented in metros (14 July 2003).

Mumbai Cable Operators Federation (MCOF) lawyer AM Saraogi started off proceedings by submitting photographs of the banners displayed by one of the key petitioners Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) member of parliament Kirit Somaiya across Mumbai city. Saraogi stated that the banners wrongly mentioned that the HC had given a stay order to cable operators forbidding increase in cable charges. Saraogi argued that the consumers had been misguided and many of them refused to pay cable charges to the operators. This problem of poor receipts and collections percolated to all levels of the cable trade - from last mile operators to MSOs to broadcasters.

BJP MP Somaiya's lawyer CD Mehta then stated that he had not received the affidavit filed by lawyer Ahmad Abdi, Consumer Action Network (CAN) president. Abdi had paved the way for today's hearing by producing evidence that cable related disconnections were happening throughout the city. Abdi wanted the chief justice to expedite the case in the best interests of the affected parties. Abdi also countered by saying that Mehta had not served relevant copies despite being one of the main petitioners.

On hearing the arguments, chief justice Thakker and R Chandrachud agreed to grant time to the lawyers to complete the formalities and postponed the hearing to tomorrow.

Await more action at Room no 52 of the Mumbai High Court as a multitude of lawyers representing 20-odd respondents/petitioners put forth different arguments to elicit a favourable judgement.

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