Pressure of work before HC leads to adjournment of ad cap hearing to 21 January

NEW DELHI: The ad cap case has been adjourned yet again - this time to 21 January - in view of a large number of pending cases before the High Court.


During the last hearing on 25 September, News Broadcasters Association counsel Nisha Bhambani had sought adjournment in view of the senior counsel S Ganesh not being in Delhi.


Earlier on 15 July, the Court had adjourned the case as the final hearing of the bunch of petitions challenging the ad cap sort to be imposed by TRAI as the authority had not finalised its rejoinder.


The case had been previously heard in the High Court on 17 December last year and 13 March this year.


While TRAI had earlier given an assurance that it would not take any action against any channel pending the petition, the Court had at the regulator's instance directed that all channels keep a record of the advertisements run by them.


The NBA had challenged the ad cap rule, contending that TRAI does not have jurisdiction to regulate commercial airtime on television channels.


Apart from the NBA, the petition have been filed by Sarthak Entertainment, Pioneer Channel Factory, E24 Glamoru, Sun TV Network, TV Vision, B4U Broadband, 9X Media, Kalaignar, Celebrities Management, Eanadu Television and Raj Television.


The news and regional broadcasters fear that the capping of commercial airtime will curtail their ad revenues. They also argue that the ad cap must be brought only after the benefits of cable TV digitisation start kicking in.


Earlier this year, the Court also granted interim relief to Hyderabad-based MAA Television Network against the ad cap regulation. However, the court had also observed that the cap on advertisements is a ‘reasonable exercise’.


Four major broadcast networks—Star India, Zee Entertainment, Multi Screen Media and TV18 Group—are following the regulations.


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