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SC to hear Star India petition on TRAI tariff order late August

All seven channels will be available on a-la-carte basis under Rs 19.

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NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court today listed for 28 August the special leave petition filed by Star India and Vijay TV against a tariff and inter-connect orders of regulator TRAI that had been given a go-ahead by the Madras High Court.

The TRAI tariff orders, first contested in Madras High Court by the petitioners, were cleared by the Chennai court with certain riders after hearings that continued almost over 16 months in front of two benches of the court.

Though the petitioners were  unavailable for comments, a legal eagle explained that the very fact the Supreme Court has allotted a day for hearing the petition of Star India and Vijay TV, which basically revolves around copyright and why the regulator doesn’t have jurisdiction over such issues, highlights the fact that the judge doesn’t want to take a decision in a hurry.

The next date of hearing of the case in the apex court on 28 August 2018 is few days before the deadline kicks in for filing of new inter-connect agreements by stakeholders of the Indian broadcast industry.

After the Madras HC had given a thumb up to TRAI tariff order, and both the petitioners and the defendant (TRAI) had filed caveats in the Supreme Court, the regulator had bowled a googly saying that its tariff order would come into effect from 3 July 2018 as all judicial compliances had been completed. 

“Having complied with the judicial mandates in the matter,  the Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Services (Eighth) (Addressable Systems) Tariff Order, 2017 and the Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Interconnection (Addressable Systems) Regulations, 2017 as upheld by the Hon'ble Madras High  Court and the Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Services Standards  of   Quality  of  Service and  Consumer  Protection (Addressable Systems) Regulations, 2017 come into effect from 3rd July 2018,” the regulator had said in a statement pointing out that all timelines mentioned in the original order should be adhered to immediately.

According to TRAI, implementation of the new regulatory framework will “bring in transparency”, enable provisioning of affordable broadcasting and cable TV services for the consumer and, at the same time, “would lead to an orderly growth of the sector”.

Keep tuned in for another episode of this legal saga, which started to air sometime in 2016.

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