Television

Cable ops restrained from enforcing more blackouts

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MUMBAI: The war between cable operators and consumers has taken an interesting twist with the Consumer Action Network (CAN), a city based consumer group filing a public interest petition in the Mumbai High Court today.



The PIL challenges the validity of the arbitrary hike in the subscription fees made by the cable operators and has asked for a freeze in the rates charged by them.



It is the contention of CAN that after the introduction of CAS, the consumer will get to choose whether he wishes to view a pay channel or not. Also, consumers will be free to confine themselves to the basic tier of free to air channels and will be liable to pay the rates as decided by the central government.



Following the petition, the Mumbai High Court has issued a notice to the central and state governments and directed the cable operators not to disconnect any cable connection in the meantime, a release issued by CAN claims.



The petition came for hearing before division bench comprising chief justice CL Thakkar and Dr Dhananjay Chandrachud.



The petition came for hearing along with another writ petition filed by Cable Operators Association against the arbitrary action on the part of the State Government for recovery of entertainment tax on the connections, which they claim that do not have.



During the course of the hearing, the court came down heavily on the cable operators for the black out conducted by them recently, the release says. The cable operators were called to explain their act which amounted to black mail of the citizens at a time when the World Cup is going on. The court observed that denial of information to the citizens by disconnecting the cable was tantamount to denial of fundamental right guaranteed by the Constitution of India.



AM Saragi, advocate appeared for the cable operators and government's advocate including Advocate General of Maharashtra Ghulam Vahanvati was present during the hearing .



As per orders passed now, these petitions will come for hearing after two weeks.

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