The Tamil Nadu Government has introduced a Bill seeking to put in place a licensing system and regulate the functioning of cable television operators and the multi-system operators controlling them.
The proposed Bill, Tamil Nadu Exhibition on Television Screen through Multi-System Operations, Video Cassette Recorder and Cable Television Network (Regulation) Act, 2002, seeks to provide for an effective licensing system to regulate the exhibition of cinemas, dramatic performances, sports and entertainment on television screen through video cassette recorders, multi-system operations and cable television networks.
According sources cable television operators have not renewed the licences from 1996, and a situation where the networks could be operated without licence has been created.
While the State Government had earlier enacted the Tamil Nadu Exhibition of Films on Television Screen through Video Cassette Recorders and Cable Television Network (Regulation) Act, 1984, a Central Act, the Cable Television Network (Regulation) Act, 1995 had subsequently come into force. Once the proposed legislation is in place, the Act of 1984 will be repealed.
A monopoly in cable television trade has been created and those with existing networks had been able to collect monthly charges of up to Rs 250, but there was no revenue accrual to the Government. Therefore, a licensing system is envisaged to regulate and control multi-system operators who control the cable television operators. Any offence punishable under this Act will be cognisable under the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.