Kerala HC upholds NTO 2.0 while granting relief to AIDCF

The HC noted that the TRAI has misconstrued placement as interconnection, therefore Register of Interconnect regulation is rejected

e4m by Javed Farooqui
Published: Jul 12, 2021 2:53 PM  | 2 min read
Aidcf

The Kerala High Court upheld NTO 2.0 while granting relief to All India Digital Cable Federation (AIDCF) by setting aside the regulation 18 (4) also called LCN for perpetuity. The AIDCF writ petition against the Register of Interconnection agreements regulation has also succeeded. The HC noted that the TRAI has misconstrued placement as interconnection, therefore Register of Interconnect regulation is rejected.

"In the NTO 2.0 challenge, the Kerala HC has upheld that barring 18 (4) which says LCN perpetuity other provisions are fine. LCN perpetuity clause has been stayed and other provisions which were challenged has to be implemented," said an industry source involved in the matter.

"In the second writ in which the Register of Interconnection was challenged in which TRAI has asked for filing of placement agreement, the Kerala HC has said that placement is not interconnection, and it has been misconstrued by the TRAI and there was no consultative process on placement. The AIDCF writ succeeded in the Register of Interconnection," the source added.

The AIDCF had prayed for a stay on clauses relating to placing of channels on Electronic Programme Guide (EPG), carriage fee cap of Rs 4 lakh, target market definition and calculating the discontinuation threshold for a television channel. The AIDCF had contended that these provisions limit their flexibility to do business.

The TRAI has mandated that channel of a language in a genre will be kept together while placing channels on EPG. Such EPG layout is to be mandatorily reported to the TRAI and no change in this can be done without prior approval of the authority.

In the writ petition against the Register of Interconnection agreements regulation, the AIDCF had argued that the placement, marketing and other agreements between broadcasters and distribution platform operators (DPOs) are outside the TRAI's purview.

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