The Supreme Court has asked TDSAT to decide on the validity of the TRAI order lowering price for Neo Sports channel from Rs 58.50 to Rs 37.25 without taking into account the findings of the Delhi High Court. The matter is schedule for hearing before the Tribunal on March 13. TDSAT will decide the issue on merits without going into the findings of the High Court.
TDSAT on February 20, 2007 had adjourned hearing on the Nimbus plea challenging the directions of TRAI asking it to reduce the price of its two channels – Neo Sports and Neo Sports Plus.
The High Court has refused to interfere with the TRAI order of January 11, which lowered the price for the Neo Sports on the ground that it had the right to price fixation to protect the interest of consumers.
TRAI counsel, Sanjay Kapur, said that the Authority was empowered to fix prices of the channels under Section 13 of the TRAI Act. The High Court had turned down the plea of Neo Sports that its charge of Rs 58.50 would have no effect on consumers.
On January 19, the High Court had said, “We are in no manner of doubt that it is always the consumer who will have to bear the brunt of price fixation. The petitioner had said that it was a broadcaster and will recoup its investments from the multi-system operators and local cable operators.”
Rejecting the plea, the High Court had said, “It is indeed sanguine and unrealistic that regardless of whether the charge is Rs 37.25 or Rs 58.50, the effect would not percolate downwards to the consumers.”
During the proceedings in the TDSAT, the Nimbus counsels sought adjournment on the ground that their appeal for interim stay against TRAI’s direction was pending before the Supreme Court. Nimbus has approached the tribunal against the direction of the telecom regulator, which had on January 12 directed it to reduce price of its channels to Rs 21.25 in non-CAS areas and Rs 5 in CAS notified areas.
TDSAT adjourns Nimbus plea