IBF moves court against TRAI, files writ petition in Bombay High Court

Media reports suggest that the hearing of the case will be held on Tuesday January 14, 2020

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Jan 14, 2020 9:55 AM

Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) has reportedly filed a writ petition against the Telecom Regulatory Authority (TRAI) in the Bombay High Court. The petition comes amid the on-going issue over tariff order amendments by the regulatory authority. Media reports suggest that IBF has filed the petition along with other broadcasters under article 226 and 227 of the Indian Constitution.

Media reports suggest that the hearing of the case will be held tomorrow on January 14, 2020.

Earlier in the day, in the wake of criticisms from broadcasters, TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority Of India) on Monday came out in firm support of the new amendments made in the NTO (New Tariff Order) by claiming that the amendments are consumer-friendly. They also stated that the alterations will address various issues relating to different stakeholders in the value chain and look after the interests of the consumer.

Stating that there were flaws and shortcomings in the previous amendments, RS Sharma, Chairman, TRAI said, “Like any new architecture or any structure which is created once it starts operating, you will find some flaw, inadequacy".

The discussion also clarified the concerns about broadcasters regarding the placement fee and misuse by distribution platforms. The new amendments provide transparency as well as freedom for broadcasters to price the service while the consumers will have to freedom to choose the TV channels.

Additionally, the new regime will be allowing consumers to have 200 channels instead of 100 at the same price of Rs 130. "There were 100 channels which were given at Rs 130 and it included mandatory channels broadcasted by Prasar Bharati. Now you have 200 channels in Rs 130 excluding the Prasar Bharati channels," Sharma said. "Fine-tuning the provisions of New Tariff Order (NTO) we are providing more channels to consumers," he added.

"No channel should be priced more than the price of bouquet and the sum of the a-la-carte price of channels constituting a bouquet cannot be more than 1.5 times the price of a bouquet," said the TRAI Chairman.

Sharma also explained that the new amendment was introduced in order to remove distortions and unfair practices. The regulators have reduced the price of channels forming the part of bouquets from Rs 19 to Rs 12. "Many of the broadcasters have misused the Rs 19 ceiling rule. As a result in any bouquet, the channel is either Rs 19 or less than Rs 1. Things were either on the ceiling or at the bottom, nothing in between. Even HD and SD channels having different prices are fixed at Rs 19," he said.

On January 1, TRAI had issued the amendment and had asked the broadcasters to come up with the new price list of channels by January 15.

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