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NTO 2.0: Ambiguity persists as arguments continue in Bombay, Kerala High Courts

TRAI will continue its argument on Monday

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MUMBAI: Ambiguity continues in the ecosystem with just one day left for the implementation of new tariff order amendments (NTO 2.0).

On Friday’s hearing in Bombay high Court, no conclusion was reached regarding interim relief. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) will continue its argument on Monday.

According to sources close to the development, TRAI has been directed not to take any coercive step. Although there is no any conclusion yet, a decision will mostly be taken on Monday.

Earlier, broadcasters’ argument was that the entire regime is set to kick in from 1 March. Since it is around the corner, they have moved the court seeking a stay. If they implement it before hearing, the entire petition becomes infructuous.

In response to the argument, TRAI counsel said on Thursday that it’s not the entire amended interim regime that is kicking off from 1 March. The TRAI counsel added that broadcasters’ obligation to declare new prices became effective from 15 January, but they did not make any progress on it without any stay order. If they declare prices, then only other stakeholders in the industry will be able to comply with the regime, as TRAI noted.

The Bombay High Court also asked TRAI to take instructions on deferment of NTO 2.0 as they did for the 2017 regime before the Madras High Court on Wednesday. After TRAI expressed its unwillingness to defer NTO 2.0, the hearing on interim stay started on Thursday.

In another case, the Kerala High Court has passed an interim order directing the TRAI not to take steps that are detrimental to the interest of the All India Digital Cable Federation (AIDCF) members. Although on Friday’s hearing no judgement was passed for interim relief, the decision of interim protection has been reserved.

In another development, Discovery has moved its petition to Delhi High Court which was heard today. The next hearing for the petition has been scheduled for 19 March.

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