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Bombay High Court reserves judgement in new tariff order amendment case

TRAI alleged that regulating bouquet formation and discounts is important.

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MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court has reserved the judgment in the case of the new tariff order amendments (NTO 2.0) as the hearing got over on Thursday. While the ambiguity still continues in the ecosystem, the court is expected to pronounce the judgment in a couple of days.

According to sources close to the development, Telecom regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) cited the judgment by Justice Nariman of Supreme Court delivered in 2018 and judgment of Delhi HC from 2007 to support that it has full right to regulate broadcasters. It alleged that regulating bouquet formation and discounts is important because broadcasters use the same to push unwanted channels to consumers and are only interested in increasing their advertisement revenue.

On the other hand, broadcasters argued that bouquets help to make large number of channels cheaper for consumers and also attempted to prove that due to competition from streaming services and telcos, regulation for broadcast TV ought to be reduced. As LCOs filed an independent writ petition asking for stay, they also argued that any attempt by TRAI to bring down NCF will kill their business.

Meanwhile, Kerela HC hearing a matter from MSOs protesting against an effort to reduce NCF has also reserved its order and will pronounce it soon.

As none of the high courts pronounced any clear order on interim relief, the amended regime came into play from 1 March. Among the DPOs, Tata Sky, Airtel, Dish TV, Siti Cable and IMCL have implemented NTO 2.0 and reduced their NCF.

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