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Delhi HC examining if TDSAT had jurisdiction in giving parity to HITS with MSOs

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NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court has reserved its orders on whether the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) had the jurisdiction to ‘re-write the regulation’ by asking broadcasters to treat the headend in the sky (HITS) operator Noida Software Technology Park Ltd (NSTPL) at the same level as pan-India multi-system operators (MSOs).

Justice Rajiv Sahai End law passed the order on a petition by Star India arising out of a Tribunal judgment of 7 December, 2015.

The court also said that a directive by TDSAT of 18 December asking Star India and other broadcasters to produce the kind of agreements it had with Hathway, Den and SitiCable and listing the matter for 12 January would stand suspended until the outcome of the High Court case.

The Court heard arguments presented by Star India and NSTPL whose petition had been accepted on 7 December by the Tribunal, which had asked Star India and Taj TV to execute fresh agreements with NSTPL. However, TDSAT had kept the operation of the judgment pending till 31 March this year.

It had said that on past occasions it had made similar suggestions with the hope of nudging the Television Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to take proactive steps to reduce the scope of disputes arising out of the Regulations. At the same time, the fact that regulatory intervention may be the ideal way forward cannot and should not be an excuse for this Tribunal to shirk the interpretative issues that have come before us. This is particularly so when there appears to be regulatory inertia.

The Tribunal had, on 18 December, impleaded Zee Turner and others in another petition by Star India against NSTPL and asked the broadcasters to produce agreements between broadcasters and major MSOs. It opined that some agreements have to be suspended by Star and Taj TV.

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