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SC defers hearing of Star India petition on TRAI tariff order to 5 September

Star India & Vijay TV had filed an SLP against Madras HC clearing TRAI orders

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NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has deferred the hearing of Star India’s petition filed against TRAI tariff and inter-connect order to 5 September, 2018.  The order had been given a go-ahead by the Madras High Court.

The TRAI tariff orders, first contested in Madras High Court by the petitioners, were cleared by the Chennai court with certain riders after hearings that continued almost over 16 months in front of two benches of the court.

Though the petitioners were unable for comments, a legal eagle explained that the very fact the Supreme Court has allotted a day for hearing the petition of Star India and Vijay TV, which basically revolves around copyright and why the regulator doesn’t have jurisdiction over such issues, highlights the fact that the judge doesn’t want to take a decision in a hurry.

However, ahead of 31 August 2018 deadline for publishing TV channel prices in a new format Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd  (ZEEL) has made public its channel prices in line with the tariff order, setting an example for owners of other TV channels.

All ZEEL channels will be available on a-la-carte basis, as required by regulations, and the consumers will also have the option to choose from specifically created bouquets for Hindi speaking markets (HSM) and different regional language markets like Marathi, Bangla, Odia, Bhojpuri, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam.

After the Madras HC had given a thumb up to TRAI tariff order, and both the petitioners and the defendant (TRAI) had filed caveats in the Supreme Court, the regulator had bowled a googly saying that its tariff order would come into effect from 3 July 2018 as all judicial compliances had been completed.

“Having complied with  the  judicial  mandates  in  the  matter,  the Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Services (Eighth) (Addressable Systems)  Tariff   Order, 2017 and  the Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Interconnection (Addressable Systems) Regulations, 2017 as upheld by the Hon'ble Madras High  Court and the Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Services Standards  of   Quality  of  Service and  Consumer  Protection (Addressable Systems) Regulations, 2017 come into effect from 3rd July 2018,” the regulator had said in a statement pointing out that all timelines mentioned in the original order should be adhered to immediately.

According to TRAI, implementation of the new regulatory framework will “bring in transparency”, enable provisioning of affordable broadcasting and cable TV services for the   consumer and, at the   same time, “would lead to an orderly growth of the sector”.

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