Regulators

Madras HC gives split verdict in Star India versus TRAI case

https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/smartcrop_800x800/public/images/tv-images/2018/03/02/Madras-High-Court.jpg?itok=etM1jXuI

NEW DELHI: While parts of the country took a break on a moderately warm day after playing Holi, the Madras High Court delivered a split verdict in a case involving Star India and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), apart from several other private and government organisations. This effectively means that the Supreme Court will again have to take a stand on whether the regulator’s proposed tariff order relating to broadcast and cable sectors could be implemented or remains in suspended animation.

While striking down certain aspects of the tariff guidelines (maximum retail price and discounting limits), issued by TRAI late 2016, and upholding the petitioner's plea, the two-judge bench of the high court referred to another yet-to-be-decided judge the issue of jurisdiction of TRAI on matters such as copyright over content.

Now that the high court has delivered a fractured verdict, raising fears of a status quo and non-implementation of the TRAI tariff guidelines in certain sections of the cable distribution industry, the Supreme Court could likely early next week take a view whether TRAI can go ahead and implement the regulations or further judicial clarity is needed.

“The reason for putting cap of 15 per cent to the discount on the MRP of a bouquet disclosed in to the impugned Tariff Order is that, as per data available with TRAI, some bouquets are being offered by the distributors of television channels at a discount of up to 80-90 per cent of the sum of a-la-carte rates of pay channels constituting those bouquets. Such high discounts force the subscribers to take bouquets only and thus reduce subscriber choice. This, in my view, cannot be a reason to restrict the discount,” the judgement observed at one point.

The lengthy verdict (over 140 pages) of the two-judge bench of the high court, which had been hearing a case filed by Star TV and associate Vijay TV challenging tariff guidelines of TRAI on various grounds of copyright and whether the regulator has the jurisdiction to make regulatory guidelines, was delivered after the hearings got over several months back and the verdict was kept in abeyance.

While stakeholders refused to comment on the verdict officially, saying the fine prints of the lengthy order need to be studied over the weekend, TRAI could not be reached for its version on the Madras HC verdict.

However, an industry observer opined that considering the high court’s observations on MRP and discounts relating to TV channels, implementing the remaining part of TRAI’s proposed tariff and inter-connect guidelines would make less sense as both the issues frowned down upon by the high court form an integral part of the overall regulations.

The tariff issue has been in the courts since late 2016. The Delhi High Court too is hearing a similar matter involving TRAI’s proposed tariff guidelines. In this case the petitioners are DTH operators Tata Sky and Airtel Digital.

ALSO READ:

MSOs move Madras HC seeking relief on inter-connect pacts

Orders reserved by Madras HC on TRAI jurisdiction case

SC stays new TRAI tariff, asks Madras HC to complete hearing in four weeks

Latest Reads

https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2022/05/20/anub.jpg?itok=eLLAJvAF
I&B Minister Anurag Thakur expects Indian M&E sector to double by 2030

Indian media and entertainment sector, which is currently valued at $24 billion is expected to grow to $30 billion by 2024. “I feel with the growth rate we have and I’m sure it’s going to grow more than that. By 2030 we expect it to double and even more,”

Regulators I&B Ministry
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2022/02/14/5g.jpg?itok=0WfZabkc
5G auctions likely in May

5G spectrum auction in India is expected to be held in May this year subject to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) submitting its final recommendations on various aspects of the sale process by March, said a senior official of the telecom department.

Regulators TRAI
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2022/02/02/nir.jpg?itok=ZRddz1a9
Budget 2022: I&B ministry allocation slashed to Rs 3980.77 crore in FY23

The Union Budget 2022 has earmarked a total sum of Rs 3980.77 crore for the ministry of information and broadcasting in the fiscal year 2022-23. This amounts to a decrease of Rs 90 crore from last year.

Regulators I&B Ministry
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2022/01/04/img_04012022_180809_800_x_800_pixel.jpg?itok=EpLXIgFD
I&B ministry lays down guidelines for infrastructure sharing by MSOs

Mumbai: The ministry of information and broadcasting (I&B) has given its go-ahead to the multi-system operators (MSOs) to share infrastructure with other MSOs on a voluntary basis. As per the guidelines released by the ministry, the responsibility for compliance with guidelines and other...

Regulators I&B Ministry
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2021/12/30/trai.jpg?itok=xcyRdhfO
Trai to form committee for smooth rollout of NTO 2.0

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has decided to form a committee with representation from leading pay TV industry associations to ensure the smooth implementation of the New Regulatory Framework 2020 and identify impediments with counter-measures for the overall growth of the...

Regulators TRAI
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2021/12/09/img_09122021_134949_800_x_800_pixel.png?itok=ST7NBDS2
Trai asks broadcasters, DPOs to comply with interconnection agreements regulations

Mumbai: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has asked broadcasters and distributors of TV channels to immediately implement the provisions of the Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Services Register of Interconnection Agreements and all such other matters Regulations, 2019. The...

Regulators TRAI
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2021/12/09/trai.jpg?itok=DTj5E0mY
Trai seeks suggestions to enhance ease of doing business in telecom and broadcasting sector

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has released a consultation paper on “Ease of Doing Business in Telecom and Broadcasting Sector”. The industry stakeholders can send their comments by 5 January 2022, and counter comments can be submitted by 19 January 2022.

Regulators TRAI
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2021/12/07/img_07122021_165749_800_x_800_pixel.jpg?itok=XN5GtFzF
Prasar Bharati not closing any Akashvani radio station in India: Anurag Thakur

Mumbai: Prasar Bharati is not closing any Akashvani radio station in India, the minister of information and broadcasting Anurag Thakur told the Parliament on Tuesday. Thakur was responding to concerns regarding the closure of radio stations across different parts of the country that have been in...

Regulators I&B Ministry
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2021/11/30/coirt.jpg?itok=ELGjuKf8
Supreme Court to hold final hearing in NTO 2.0 case today

The Supreme Court is all set to hold the final hearing in the NTO 2.0 case on Tuesday. The matter pertains to a bunch of petitions filed against the Bombay high court order regarding the implementation of the New Tariff Order (NTO) 2.0 issued by the telecom regulator.

Regulators Supreme Court