NEW DELHI: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India can only regulate the means of transmission and not take any decisions like pricing about the content, Star India contended today.
In his rejoinder in the petition by Star India and Vijay TV challenging the jurisdiction of TRAI to issue tariff orders on the ground that content came under the Copyright Act, Star India counsel P Chidambaram said TRAI was free to regulate the carriage side of broadcasting right up to the consumer.
Chidambaram was speaking after the arguments by TRAI counsel Saket Singh, and intervenors All India Digital Cable Federation counsel A R L Sundaresan and Videocon d2h counsel Vijay Raman.
Chidambaram said that in theory, TRAI could not price even the movie channels.
He said that the petitioners were not licencees under Section 2(1)(e) if the TRAI Act.
Responding to points made by TRAI, he said the reliance to the 2004 judgment pf the Delhi High Court in the Star India vs TRAI case was misplaced. This was because the principles of res judicata estoppel and acquiescence do not apply to the present case since the present petition is challenging the jurisdiction of TRAI itself. Even that judgement had only directed TRAI to freeze and not to fix prices, he contended.
He also said that TRAI was fixing prices genre-wise in the new tariff order and not channel wise.
While Chidambaram referred to the tariff orders of 2004 and 2007, he refrained from speaking about the tariff orders of 2012 and 2014.
He contended that once uplinked, broadcasting was complete and TRAI did not come into the picture in broadcast re-production rights.
Following the completion of his rejoinder, senior counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi will present his rejoinder on behalf of Vijay TV. It is expected that the judges may reserve orders tomorrow.
Although the Supreme Court had in early May while staying the tariff order directed the Madras High Court to complete hearing within four weeks, the High Court had commenced the in the last week of June.
Meanwhile, TRAI TV reference interconnect offer (RIO) and Quality of service order (QoS) came into effect from 2 May following the order of 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.
The orders can be seen at: