Delhi HC allows AIDCF to implead in Tata Sky, Airtel plea against TRAI regulations
The court has set the final date of hearing on August 16
A division bench of the Delhi High Court on Tuesday accepted the All India Digital Cable Federation’s (AIDCF) plea to implead in the case filed by Tata Sky and Bharti Telemedia against Telecom Regulatory Authority of India. Henceforth, AIDCF will be able to “make legal submissions” through their counsel Jayant Mehta in the case challenging the constitutionality of TRAI’s tariff order and interconnect regulations. The matter was heard by Delhi HC acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar who have set the final date of hearing on August 16.
Sources told exchange4media that the court stressed on the fact that “no further pleadings would be allowed” in the case since the regulations are slated to come into effect within the next few months. While Tata Sky and Bharti Telemedia had filed separate writ petitions, their pleas were bundled together previously with TRAI being asked to file an affidavit by July 25. It is important to note that Tata Sky and Airtel Digital are in merger talks following a similar deal between Dish TV and Videocon d2h.
Besides the plea pending before the Delhi HC wherein the petitioners have held the tariff order and interconnect regulations to be in violation of Article 19 (1)(G), the case filed by Star India and Vijay TV in the Madras High Court is nearing completion. The rejoinders in that particular case were completed last week on July 19. The court is expected to pronounce a judgement after the parties involved furnish their written submissions on July 27.
Formulated originally in October 2016, the tariff order and interconnect regulations were notified in March 2017 after due approval from the Supreme Court. Thereafter, Star India and Vijay TV sought a stay on the regulations in April 2017 which was rejected by the Madras HC. However, the apex court’s intervention provided the broadcasters in question with a sigh of relief in the form of a stay order. As per an undertaking furnished by TRAI before the Madras HC, the commercial transactions under the new regime will become operational only from September 1.
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