Regulators

Tata Sky & Airtel DTH pleas against TRAI tariff in Delhi HC on Friday

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NEW DELHI: The petition by direct-to-home platform Tata Sky challenging the Tariff and the Reference Interconnect Order regulations of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India is slated for hearing in the Delhi High Court tomorrow (Friday).

The petition seeks an order not only for setting aside these regulations, but also categorising some sub-sections of Section 11 of the TRAI Act 1997 as being violative of the Indian Constitution. Another petition by Airtel Digital, which has been filed seeking similar similar reliefs, may also be heard along with the Tata Sky petition. 

The Tata Sky petition has been filed on behalf of the d2H platform and the Tata Sky CFO S Ganesan. The respondents are both, TRAI and the Union of India.

Indiantelevision.com had earlier reported that the primary problem with the new tariff order arises from the fact that all stakeholders will have to abide by the rates fixed by the broadcaster.

The DTH players are agitated not only with the fact that they pay over 85% of the service tax and entertainment tax in the digitised universe, but the fact that their liberty to make their own bouquets may be taken away with the broadcasters having the say in fixing rates for individual channels.

Tata Sky CEO Harit Nagpal had earlier confirmed to indiantelevision.com that it was moving the Delhi High Court against TRAI on the tariff order. As it is one of the largest among the six private DTH operators, the approximately Rs 50-billion Tata Sky may be joined by other players.

Tata Sky had designed packages as per genre so as to make it smoother for the customer but may now have to change these bouquets/bundles as the new order directs the DTH operators to offer channels on an à la carte basis and then link them to the bouquet price.

There are several conditions in the new order as to how the channels could be priced in a bunch, and individually, Nagpal said. If one aspires that consumers are going to use an app and order a channel that may not take place in the Rs 58000-crore television industry.

TRAI had first come out with a draft tariff order in October 2016 but was embroiled in the case in Madras High Court which had initially directed status quo. Later, TRAI had issued the orders on 3 March after getting the green signal from the apex court even as the broadcasters’ case was pending in the High Court.

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.

Meanwhile in another matter pending before the Madras High Court where Star India and Vijay TV have challenged the regulations under the Copyright Act on the ground that content does not fall under TRAI jurisdiction, the Supreme Court on 8 May stayed the operation of the regulations but asked the High Court to dispose of the case within four weeks.

Also read:

After Star, Tata Sky all set to challenge TRAI tariff: Harit Nagpal

SC stays new TRAI tariff, asks Madras HC to complete hearing in four weeks

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