Report on Shemaroo

Tata Sky seeks to amend its writ petition against TRAI in the tariff order case

It is of the view that the impugned amendments don’t take into account relevant matters

MUMBAI: The direct-to-home (DTH) platform Tata Sky has sought to amend the writ petition which was filed earlier before the Delhi High Court against the new tariff order introduced by The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). Alongside the ongoing case, Tata Sky seeks to amend the present petition by adding a challenge to the new amendments which was brought by the regulatory body at the beginning of 2020.

Tata Sky has mentioned that following amendments are “arbitrary, irrational, unreasonable, without jurisdiction and seek to be expropriatory”.

The petitioner has submitted that the reduction of Network Capacity Fee (NCF) is irrational and unreasonable as it does not ensure reasonable profit to the DTH platform. According to the petitioner, the TRAI has not carried out any tariff determining exercise before making the amendment regarding NCF.

TRAI has also reduced the chargeability of the NCF in respect of every additional television to only 40 per cent of the original NCF, in a "multi-tv household".  It has also asked to reduce the carriage fee chargeable by a DPO against a new television channel from 20 paisa for Standard Definition (SO) per channel per month for a penetration upto 5 per cent, to a cap of maximum Rs 4 lakh for SD Channels. Such caps are also prescribed for HD Channels.

“Through the capping of the Price of a Pay-Channel which could be put into a bouquet, the Distribution Fees available to the DPO has also been unreasonably and irrationally reduced,” the petitioner submitted.  It also added that the amendment would reduce  the  capability  of  a  DPO  to  form  bouquets  of channels which are priced above Rs 12 by the broadcaster. Moreover, a compulsory free carriage of Doordarshan channels has also been mentioned as unreasonable.

“The Petitioner submits that the Impugned Amendments 2020 reduce the revenue generated by the Petitioner No.1 in such manner that even the basic right of the Petitioner to recover the basic cost of its network has been negated. The Petitioner submits that during the course of the present petition before this Hon'ble Court, the Respondent has failed to prove, establish or even display the advantages of the 2017 Regime,” it says.  

Hence, Tata sky has sought to make additional grounds which may be allowed to be included in the main writ petition. According to the company, the impugned amendments 2020 do not take into account relevant matters and takes into account irrelevant issues like foreign consumers to subscribe television channels on the ala-carte basis by making bouquet of channels expensive. The DTH network is thus being made available to the consumer in such manner that it would not be able to even recover its operational or capital costs.

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