Bombay High Court wants to delay new cheaper TV tariffs

The Bombay High Court onWednesday asked the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India(TRAI) if it can defer the implementation of its 2020 tarifforder as the court is hearing pleas filed by producers,broadcasters and cable operators against the new regulations.A division bench of Justices Amjad Sayyed and AnujaPrabhudessai noted that the 2020 regulations and tariff orderis to come into force on March 1.

"Even for interim relief, detailed arguments wouldhave to be canvased. Considering the complex issues involved,it may not be possible to hear all the parties and pass orderswithin two days," the court said.

"We deem it appropriate to request the AdditionalSolicitor General and the senior counsel for TRAI to takeinstructions whether the impugned 2020 Regulations and 2020Tariff Order can be deferred," the bench said.

The court noted that the operation of the earlierRegulations of 2017 had been deferred for one month by theTRAI.

The HC posted the matter for further hearing onFebruary 27.

Several broadcasters including the Indian BroadcastingFoundation, a representative body of TV channels, The Film andTelevision Producers Guild of India, Zee Entertainment Ltd andSony Pictures Network India have moved the HC.

In January, another bench had refused to defer thedeadline of January 15 given to broadcasters to submit theirrevised tariff plans to TRAI.

The broadcasters in their petitions said the amendedregulations were "arbitrary, unreasonable and violative oftheir fundamental rights".

The TRAI, on January 1, 2020, issued new tariff rules.

Earlier, all free-to-air channels were available forRs 130, and consumers needed to pay more to watch additionalchannels.

Under new tariffs, consumers will pay Rs 130 asNetwork Capacity Fee charges, but will be entitled to 200channels.
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