Regulators

Mumbai High Court postpones cable case to 18 June

http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/smartcrop_800x800/public/images/regulators-images/2015/11/14/Untitled-1.jpg?itok=W27DtcD6

MUMBAI: The trade was anxiously awaiting a decision but none was forthcoming. A division bench of the Mumbai High Court comprising Chief Justice CL Thakker and Dr Dhananjay Chandrachud today further postponed the crucial hearing of the "cable case" to 18 June 2003.

 

Chaitanya D Mehta, representing the chief petitioner Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) member of Parliament Kirit Somaiya and other politicians, opened proceedings by stating the original petition is not restricted merely to monthly cable charges payable by the consumer. Mehta stated that the other issues included disconnections, black outs by cable operators, incorrect disclosures and non payment of applicable taxes to the state and Central government.



During the court room proceedings a lot of inconsistent statements were made by the assembled lawyers. For instance, Mehta read out the applicable sections which stated that the Union government was empowered to dictate the ceiling rate of the monthly cable charges. However, it is important to note that he was quoting from the recently amended Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Amendment Bill 2002 which empowers the government to determine the ceiling price of free-to-air (FTA) channels - and not the pay channels. Also, industry sources present in the court mentioned that some of these sections will only become applicable from 14 July 2003 when conditional access system (CAS) commences in the metropolitan cities.



Mehta also appealed to the Lordships to postpone the hearing to 18 July as the Central government is supposed to ratify certain aspects of CAS by 17 July 2003 - three days after the implementation process commences!



However, Mehta was bang on target when he raised the issue of compliance. He pointed out that there could be 2 million subscribers in the city of Mumbai but the statistics available with the government indicated the figure was in the region of 4,47,000. He also mentioned that the government should be earning revenues of Rs 60 million per month instead of the Rs 13 million that it is getting. He questioned as to why the state and central government enforcement authorities (excise department, income tax department officials and the legal authorities such as the police) had failed to enforce and interpret the laws correctly.



Mehta wondered whether there was a nexus between the enforcement authorities and cable operators. He stated that the laws clearly said that cable operators must maintain a maintenance register in the prescribed form and produce (on demand by the enforcement authorities) information on all aspects of their business including the exact number of customers serviced.



Mehta also quoted sub sections 3, 4A, 5 amongst others which empowered enforcement authorities to seize equipment of defaulting cable operators. He pointed out that the broadcasters had admitted (in their petition as well as in public statements) that only 25 per cent of the actual subscriber base was declared by the cable trade.



This line of reasoning was seconded by Doordarshan / Prasar Bharati lawyer additional solicitor-general of Maharashtra SB Jaisinghani. Jaisinghani wondered as to why the enforcement authorities had failed to conduct a single raid on any cable operator till date. He appealed to the lordships to give the requisite instructions to the enforcement authorities.



The lawyers of the cable operators raised the issue of the chief petitioner (BJP MP Somaiya) misguiding the general masses by wrongly informing them (through banners in public places) that the High Court order of 7 March included an injunction against raising cable charges. One of the lawyers representing respondent No 25 (cable distributor Sada Kadam) and Mumbai Cable Operators Federation lawyer AM Saraogi urged the lordships to clarify that they had not passed an injunction. They said that the "political gimmick" was affecting the day-to-day cable business.



The lawyers representing the cable operators also stated that the consumers were taking recourse to the incorrect or partly correct interpretations made by the chief petitioners in their public communication and refraining from making monthly cable payments. They pointed out that petition of the chief petitioner mentioned that the broadcasters were charging Rs 240 per month for pay channels. They argued that the cable trade was willing to charge Rs 150 as long as the chief petitioner was willing to compensate the difference in amount.



Meanwhile, MSO InCablenet lawyer Janak Dwarkadas again requested the Lordships to give their verdict as the broadcasters were cutting signals to the MSOs for non-payment of dues whereas the consumers refused to pay in lieu of the incorrect messages sent out by the chief petitioners and politicians.



After the Lordships postponed the hearing to 18 June 2003, some of the assembled members of the cable trade mentioned that the case would drag on till July 2003 when CAS would come into effect.



"There is no will to sort out the problem. However, it is a win-win situation for the politicians. Even if their petition is dismissed, later on, they can admit that they tried their best and score political brownie points. But, the trade will continue to suffer due to consumers refusing to pay and taking recourse to the campaign of the politicians. With the decision being postponed, we shall have to battle on in order to collect our rightful dues," says a cable operator on condition on anonymity while speaking to indiantelevision.com.

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