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Tata Sky mulls fresh petition against TRAI tariff rollout

A contempt petition filed earlier in the day dismissed by Delhi HC

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MUMBAI: Indian DTH operator Tata Sky is exploring options of filing a fresh petition in Delhi High Court against a Telecom Regulatory Authority of India directive to implement a new tariff regime from 3 July.

Industry sources indicated that though Tata Sky withdrew its petition filed in the morning, it could again move the court protesting on various grounds the rollout of the TRAI tariff regime.

The Delhi court, which is still to pronounce a verdict in a case relating to tariff and inter-connect orders of the regulator after being moved by Tata Sky and Airtel Digital TV over a year back, however, today refused to entertain the DTH operator’s fresh contempt plea against TRAI and said if the petitioner wished it could file a fresh petition.

Tata Sky had pleaded that TRAI media statement, issued 3 July 2018 directing broadcast and cable industry stakeholders to start rolling out the new tariff and inter-connect regimes with immediate effect, amounted to contempt of the Delhi High Court.

TRAI yesterday had said in a statement that its long-pending tariff and inter-connect orders, first issued in 2016, was to be implemented from 3 July 2018 with stakeholders to follow deadlines mentioned in the directive. The regulator had justified its stand by saying all necessary judicial compliances too were followed.

“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 TRAI statement had said.

The statement had further stated that “in compliance to the direction” of the Delhi High Court, the regulator had “duly filed an affidavit” on 3 July 2018 in the court on implementation of   its tariff and other related orders as they were cleared by another high court.

Meanwhile Star India, also expected to open up another legal front at the Supreme Court on the tariff issue, hasn’t yet made a move.

Still, industry people do admit that though TRAI may have directed implementation of its new tariff regime, but there is lack of clarity on the issue of 15 per cent cap on discounts offered by broadcasters on the prices of TV channels.

While upholding TRAI’s right to give directives on tariff-related matters, Madras High Court had given a thumb down to the capping of discounts offered. While stating that its tariff order was to come into effect from 3 July 2018, the regulator had not clarified whether the discount cap stayed or was done away with.

Keep tuned in for more developments on the tariff issue as it refuses to go away or get settled once and for all.

Also Read:

TRAI says b'cast & cable tariff, inter-connect orders come into effect 3 July

Star files caveat in Supreme Court on TRAI tariff order

Third Madras high court judge gives TRAI tariff order thumbs up

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