Can NTO 2.0 be put on hold, Bombay HC asks TRAI
The court noted that the implementation of NTO 1 was also put on hold by Madras High Court on similar grounds
On a petition seeking relief from the implementation of NTO 2.0, the Bombay High Court has asked TRAI to consider if it can be put hold. The court noted that it has come to its knowledge that implementation of NTO 1 was also put on hold by Madras High Court.
The Court observed, "In the above circumstances, without prejudice to rights and contentions of the parties, we deem it appropriate to request the learned Additional Solicitor General and the learned Senior Counsel for the Respondent - TRAI to take instructions whether the impugned 2020 Regulations and 2020 Tariff Order can be deferred. We note that even the operation of the earlier Regulations of 2017 was deferred by one month by the TRAI itself".
The impugned 2020 Regulations and 2020 Tariff Order is to come into the force on 1st March 2020. As observed in the order dated 30th January 2020, even for interim relief detailed arguments would have to be canvased.
"Considering the above and given the complex issues involved, it may not be easy task for us hear all the Counsel for the Petitioners and the Respondents and pass orders on the interim relief sought, in the two days left with us i.e. 27th February 2020 and 28th February 2020, before the impugned 2020 Regulations and 2020 Tariff Order is to come into force. Today, we have heard the matter in the afternoon session and Rohatagi, learned Senior Counsel for the petitioners has completed his arguments and Dwarkadas, learned Senior Counsel has yet to complete his arguments,' observed the Court. Other Senior Counsel/Counsel including that of the respondents are yet to be heard.
As many as eight major broadcasting companies, cable operators and associations representing television producers had moved the court seeking a stay or deferral of implementation of NTO 2 The court also clubbed a petition by certain Mumbai-based cable operators with the broadcasters’ case.
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