Regulators

Hearing of Star - TRAI case begins before MHC chief justice

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NEW DELHI: The case by Star India and Vijay TV challenging the jurisdiction of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India on the plea that content did not come in the regulator?s ambit commenced today in a bench headed by Madras High Court Chief Justice Indira Banerjee.

Hearing on the petition, which has had a chequered history with three judges recusing themselves, commenced anew as it had gone before a new bench with the Chief Justice and Justice M Sundar.

However, the matter was listed for tomorrow after a brief hearing when the Star India counsel commenced speaking as the court had other matters to conclude.

After counsel for the broadcasters, counsel for TRAI, Union of India, and the intervener All India Digital Cable Federation will be heard.

Though it was not clear, it appeared that the judges Justice S Nagamuthu, Justice Anita Sumanth and later Justice Govind Rajan had received letters which prompted them to withdraw from the case.

The petition had been filed by Star India and Vijay TV under the Copyright Act on the ground that TRAI could not give any directive that will affect the content since that did not fall in its purview.

The fresh petition became necessary as the matter is being heard afresh by the Chief Justice. Star India SVP ? Legal and Regulatory ? Pulak Bagchi confirmed that while the primary case remained on the grounds of the Copyright Act remained the same, a new petition had been filed because it was coming up before the Chief Justice.  

Last month, Star India and Vijay TV decided not to press for their pleas for extension of the tariff order following TRAI's announcement that its tariff regulations which were slated to come into effect on 2 April were being deferred to 2 May 2017. The court had fixed the matter for further hearing on 3 April even as TRAI counsel commenced his arguments following the conclusion of the arguments by the broadcasters over two days commencing last Friday.

Earlier, on 3 March, the regulator had issued three regulations after getting a directive from the Supreme Court on its appeal against a stay granted by the Madras High Court. While granting the appeal, the apex court also asked the high court to conclude hearing in 60 days.

Apart from the Tariff order which had originally been issued on 10 October last year, the regulator also issued the DAS Interconnect Regulations which had been issued on 14 October last year, and the Standards of Quality of Service and Consumer Protection (Digital Addressable Systems) Regulations which had been issued on 10 October last year. The orders can be seen at:

http://trai.gov.in/sites/default/files/Tariff_Order_English_3%20March_20...

http://www.trai.gov.in/sites/default/files/QOS_Regulation_03_03_2017.pdf

http://www.trai.gov.in/sites/default/files/Interconnection_Regulation_03...

Following these regulations, the broadcasters had filed an amended petition and TRAI had also replied to the same last week. Concluding his arguments for the broadcasters, senior counsel P Chidambaram argued that TRAI?s action of fixing tariff for TV content was in violation of the Copyright Act. He also submitted that TRAI did not have the jurisdiction to fix tariff since the exploitation of IPR was part of the Copyright Act.

Also Read:

Chief Justice of MHC to hear Star India case against TRAI under Copyright Act

Coordinate with registry for mentioning TV tariff matter, says Madras HC CJ

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