Tata Sky vs TRAI: Delhi High Court adjourns matter to 28 January

Post TRAI's extension, the new tariff order comes into effect on 1 February

MUMBAI: The next instalment of DTH major Tata Sky’s ongoing legal tussle with the TRAI and its new tariff regime, in which Bharti Telemedia-owned Airtel Digital TV and Sun Direct are a part, will play out on 28 January. The Delhi High Court, on Wednesday, adjourned the matter as the judge was on leave.

On 15 January, the matter was argued partly by senior lawyer Kapil Sibal on behalf of the direct-to-home operator on Tuesday who focussed on two points of 15 per cent discount cover (or the lack of it) and micromanagement attempt by TRAI of how business should be conducted.

The hearing in the case started at around 2:45 pm and continued till almost 90 minutes during which Sibal argued that with the Madras HC setting aside the 15 per cent discount cap, the main aim of the tariff order had been frustrated and that attempt to micromanage a business, especially moves relating to pricing, etc., some of the provisions of the regulation were not in the interest of the DTH operator, which follows a different cost model compared to MSOs.

The TRAI counsel’s interjection, according to industry sources, was minimal except seeking some technical clarifications relating to issues being argued by the Tata Sky lawyer and the actual content of the writ petition.

Though this essentially means the regulator is unlikely to take any coercive action against the DTH operator and Discovery (that has already published new rates in compliance with the TRAI tariff order) until the next hearing, during the 10 January 2019 hearing of the case the court had verbally observed that Tata Sky could remain non-compliant at its own peril.

At the earlier hearing, Sibal had impressed upon the judges to ask TRAI to produce all documents on how it arrived at the decision to implement the new tariff regime. He had also stated that implementing the present order will have an adverse impact on business.

The TRAI lawyer had countered saying while Tata Sky felt aggrieved, a big DTH operator like Dish TV and all other MSOs seemed satisfied and had complied with the new tariff framework.

The court had then asked the regulator to file the documents and the data that was the basis for arriving at the new tariff regime.

Tata Sky is unlikely to upload its RIO for now, unlike Discovery, which has already published the same on its website, under protest.

In 2017, Bharti Telemedia, Tata Sky and Discovery Communication India had filed petitions against TRAI, challenging its tariff order and the interconnect regulations.

Unlike the position adopted by Star India wherein it questioned the regulatory powers of TRAI, the matter in the Delhi HC questions the regulator’s power to wipe out deals that operators enter into to fix commissions and rates for customers.

While the Delhi HC case outcome could have implications on Tata Sky, Sun Direct, other distribution platform operators (DPOs) continue to be bound by the tariff order and most of them have complied to.

Latest Reads
Broadcasters support return of RPD in BARC measurement module

Broadcasters have shown unified support towards the need to improve the current audience measurement technique used by the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC).

Regulators TRAI
TRAI to take action against errant service providers

In order to address customer concerns regarding the new tariff regime that came into effect from 1 February, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has taken considerable steps to educate and inform people.

Regulators TRAI
TDSAT permits Harvest TV to be renamed Tiranga TV

Veecon Media and Broadcasting Pvt Ltd has been granted interim relief by Telecom Disputes Settlement Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) permitting it to use the name ‘Tiranga TV’ for its news and current affairs channel that is currently called ‘Harvest TV’

Regulators TDSAT
Govt orders private TV channels to strictly follow terror attack coverage guidelines

In the wake of the recent terror attacks in Jammu & Kashmir, the government has issued an advisory to private TV channels to adhere to the guidelines that are issued for the coverage of terror attacks.

Regulators I&B Ministry
DPOs have to pay broadcasters under new tariff order rules starting February

The Telecom Regulatory Authority prof India (TRAI) notified The Telecommunications (Broadcasting & Cable) Services Interconnection (Addressable Systems) Regulations, 2017, The Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Services (Eighth) (Addressable Systems) Tariff Order, 2017  and the...

Regulators TRAI
Delhi HC directs TRAI to explain changes in tariff order implementation

Chief Justice of Delhi High Court Rajendra Menon on Wednesday questioned the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) for altering the implementation process of its new tariff regime without informing the court. The chairperson of the sector regulator has now been directed to file an affidavit...

Regulators TRAI
TRAI vs Tata Sky: Delhi High Court adjourns case to 21 February

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday adjourned Tata Sky’s ongoing legal battle, in which Discovery, Bharti Telemedia-owned Airtel Digital TV and Sun Direct are a part, with the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India(TRAI) and its new tariff regime to 21 February.

Regulators TRAI
TRAI extends deadline for selection of TV channels to March 31

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Tuesday extended its deadline for consumers to pick TV channels they want to 31 March.

Regulators TRAI
MIB directive on PwD-friendly programming leaves broadcasters sceptical

Though laudable, a new government directive on making all TV shows on all channels specially-abled people friendly has left the broadcasting industry sceptical as it would be difficult to implement the directive across all genres of programming 24x7.

Regulators TRAI

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories