Sony moves Delhi High Court against Trai

MUMBAI: Sony Discovery has filed a petition in the Delhi High Court challenging the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India's (Trai) jurisdiction over contractual matters. This follows Trai's directive to Sony Discovery to restore signals to a defaulting cable operator without proper notice.

"We filed a writ petition in the High Court today. We want to protect our Consitutional right to collect contractual dues," says SET Discovery president Shantanu Aditya.

On 12 January Trai had directed SET Discovery to take immediate steps for restoration of signals to Allahabad-based Three Star Communication. Sony Discovery, the joint venture company which distributes a bouquet of television channels, had switched off signals to the cable network on 14 December 2004.

According to Trai, this was against the Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable Services) Interconnection Regulation, 2004, issued on 10 December. Broadcasters are required to issue one month notice before disconnection of signals in case of cable operators defaulting payments. The regulator had asked Sony Discovery to scrupulously comply with the requirements of the regulation.

Sony's contention is that Three Star Communication was a chronic defaulter since January 2004 and owed dues worth Rs 0.42 million. "We switched them off after giving them appropriate notice," says Aditya.

But isn't Sony required to issue a month's notice after the regulation came into existence? "We had served them notices earlier and they had made commitments which they haven't honoured," says Aditya.


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