Television

Delhi HC directs govt to respond to PIL

NEW DELHI: While the government and the industry keep grappling with the issue of CAS, a vacation bench of the Delhi High Court has asked the government to file its response by 26 December on a petition filed by consumer activist groups seeking a stay on the rollout of conditional access.

The court took up the petition filed by Consumer Co-ordination Council (CCC) and the Consumer Online Foundation today and directed that the central government, through the information and broadcasting ministry, file a response stating as to why the rollout of CAS in its present form should not be stayed.

When contacted, a ministry official told indiantelevision.com that the government would study the situation and file a response as directed by the court. The petitioners had stated that CAS in its present form is anti-consumer in Delhi and various doubtful issues persist to haunt it.

In the light of this, the rollout being implemented by the cable industry in South Delhi should be stopped.

The petitioners had also said that such a technology should be rolled out when there is a regulatory body to hear complaints from consumers as well.

The vacation bench comprised Justices V Jain and Pradeep Nandrajog. Petitioners' counsel Rajiv Bansal argued that there was no sync between the amended and unamended provisions of the Cable TV (Network) Regulation Act, which facilitates implementation of CAS. He also contended that the portion concerned in the Act is violative of the freedom of speech and expression guaranteed to citizens of India under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution.

Referring to the Communication Convergence Bill introduced in the Parliament, Bansal said that once it becomes a reality and a law, the CATV Act would be subsumed in it and hence, it is almost obsolete.

The petitioners, apart from other things, had alleged that the government notification on CAS was more "coercive implementation" of set-top boxes than about consumer interest.

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