Justify non-implementation of CAS by Monday: Delhi HC tells govt

NEW DELHI: The Delhi high court today directed the federal government of India to file its reply latest by Monday, listing reasons for postponing the implementation of conditional access system (CAS) in the Union Territory of Delhi.

Pointing out that the central government cannot be given more time to file its reply, the judge observed that the government, through its counsel K K Sood, should explain the reason for rolling back CAS in Delhi if it has been touted as a consumer-friendly move.

The case came up for hearing after the high court received three petitions stating that the delay in implementing addressability would lead to financial loss to cable operators and multi-system operators who had invested in infrastructure, on assurances from the government on CAS. 

The petitioners are Zee Telefilms' cable arm Siti Cable, Cable Networks Association (CNA) and an individual consumer activist.

The court also took note of the fact that in one of the minutes of the meetings on CAS, a government official had cited 'political factors' as reasons for postponing CAS in Delhi, till the assembly elections are over later this year. 

CNA has also petitioned that the rate of Rs 72 (excluding taxes) per month fixed for the basic tier of free-to-air channels is too low and even after announcement of CAS, pay broadcasters have not come forward with individual prices of their channels.

The next hearing of the three petitions, clubbed together, has been scheduled for next Wednesday.

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