Trai may sue Sony Discovery & Zee Turner

NEW DELHI: Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) is contemplating legal action against One Alliance and Zee Turner for non-compliance of the regulator's separate directives on restoring signals to cable operators.

Speaking to today evening, a senior Trai official admitted that taking legal action in a court of law is an option, which is "being studied" at the moment.

This has been necessitated as Trai cannot penalise in any way anybody for non-compliance of a directive of the regulator. "Because we cannot impose a fine or penalise errant parties, we have to seek help from courts," the official said, clarifying that, however, legal succour has to come from courts other than a high court as it does not handle such cases.

Since Trai would have to move a court of law in the places where the incidents of disconnections have taken place --- in Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh and Kerala --- it is expected to be a lower court.

"We also cannot put a time frame on taking up this legal option as certain internal procedures will have to be completed," the Trai official said.

When contacted, SET Discovery president Shantanu Aditya declined to comment on the issue. Zee Turner was not available for comments.

While One Alliance, a joint venture between Sony and Discovery India, did not restore bouquet signals to a cable operator in Allahabad despite directions from Trai to do so, Zee Turner had moved TDSAT against Kerala-based MSO, Asianet. In both the cases signals have been blocked by the distributors owing to alleged outstanding dues.

In Zee Turner's case, though TDSAT is hearing the disputed case, it has not stayed the Trai directive on restoration of signals, which has emboldened the regulator to propose legal cases against One Alliance and Zee Turner.

One Alliance has rushed to the Delhi high court challenging TRAI's authority over financial matters.

Meanwhile, Trai has extended the transition period for another 60 days under Clause 3.7 of the Telecommunication (Broadcasting & Cable) Services Interconnection Regulations, 2004, which had been had been issued on 10 December, 2004. This has been done as a proposal had been received by Trai to this effect.

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