The Telecom Dispute Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) has issued notices Tata Sky over a petition alleging illegal removal of prime channels by the DTH operator from its basic package, forcing its subscribers to pay more. The Tribunal also issued notice to TRAI after the West Bengal-based Federation of Consumer Associations submitted that it had failed to discharge its duties by not enforcing the mandatory conditions of providing a la carte on DTH operators.
TDSAT Chairman, Justice Arun Kumar, has directed Tata Sky and TRAI to file their replies within two weeks. In its petition, the consumer organisation had alleged that Tata Sky had announced to reduce Rs 40 in its basic package from June 1, 2008 onwards. However, the DTH operator took off prime channels such as BBC World, Star Sports, ESPN, Star Cricket, Ten Sports, BBC Entertainment and BBC Celebrity from the basic package and placed them on add-on packages, wherein a higher subscription fee was charged, the petition added.
“The above mode has been adopted by Tata Sky knowing fully well that most customers would choose to subscribe to these channels and, therefore, the reduction is totally illusory, whereas the increase in subscription rate is a certainty,” the Federation of Consumer Associations said in a petition filed by advocate Navin Chawla.
The Federation further said, “TRAI on its part has been coming out with regulations in the name of customer interest, however, it has taken no steps to ensure that the benefit of its regulations do actually inure to those for whom it is meant.”