In yet another development arising out of the Madras High Court, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has asked for more time to implement its tariff order. The execution of the tariff regulations has reportedly been deferred to May 2 instead of April 3 as was planned earlier. Through their counsel Richard Wilson, TRAI is said to have pleaded before the court for extension owing to the concerns of the stakeholders.
While the court is slated to take up the matter next week on April 3, TRAI will send out a formal communiqué notifying the delay in implementation of its tariff order. Over the next week, Madras HC will hear out the closing submissions of TRAI following which the All India Digital Cable Federation will be given a chance to implead in the case.
Earlier, TRAI had notified the amended tariff regulations on March 3. These regulations were originally drafted in October last year. The Madras HC is adjudicating over a petition filed by Star India and Vijay TV against TRAI in which the two have accused the regulator of violating the Copyright Act and overstepping its jurisdiction by pricing content. Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram is one of the counsels arguing against TRAI in this matter.
Despite insiders maintaining earlier that the tariff order was going to be implemented from April 3 as envisaged, TRAI’s position in court has made it aptly clear that the differences between the various stakeholders and the regulator are still persisting. There appears to be no headway till either the parties involved voluntarily iron out their differences or the Madras High Court pronounces a judgement in relation to this matter.
On March 3, the Supreme Court had directed Madras HC to dispose the case within a timeframe of two months while simultaneously allowing TRAI to notify the regulations which had been stonewalled from the side of broadcasters.