Television

Anti-CAS PIL hearing postponed till Friday

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NEW DELHI: Delhi's cable fraternity is breathing a sigh of relief following the postponement of a hearing on a public interest litigation (PIL) in a Delhi court till 19 December.



Now the industry has got time till Friday to chalk out a strategy on CAS (conditional access system).



The joint petition was filed yesterday by Consumer Coordination Council (CCC), a coalition of 50 consumer bodies and Consumer Online Foundation (COF) set up by lawyers.



The first hearing which was scheduled earlier today could not be heard by the court as the counsel for the petitioners was not fully prepared and had not arrived, sources said.



The petitioners have alleged that CAS, in its present form is anti-consumer, and that the government has not woven in proper safety measures for the people before mandating the law.



For example, there is no body or a platform that a consumer can approach if the cable operators don't provide after-sales and maintenance services for the set-top boxes (STBs) sold to them for addressability.



Seeking a regulatory body like the Telecom Regulatory authority of India (TRAI) to be put in place before CAS is rolled out, the petitioners have said, "On a conservative estimate, CAS under implementation across the 40 million cable and satellite homes has been estimated to cost the consumers nearly Rs 160,000 million with no commensurate benefit to the consumers."



TRAI has pleaded that the government had acted in a partisan manner by pointing out that "the Act (facilitating rollout of CAS), on the contrary, is unconstitutional, anti-consumer, a burden on the national exchequer and a colorable exercise of power by the respondent (the Union of India through the I&B ministry)."



Meanwhile, having woken up in the morning to this new twist in the tale, the multi-system and cable operators said that "vested interests" were trying to derail the CAS implementation process, something that was showing signs of picking up in South Delhi areas after a not-so-successful playout in Chennai.



The Delhi government's entertainment tax department also released ads in the dailies today informing consumers about the 'dos and don'ts of CAS'.



As stated earlier by indiantelevision.com, the cable ops also reiterated yesterday that consumers would continue getting entertainment channels like Star Plus, Sony and Zee TV as usual.

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