NTO 2.0: Sun TV files case against TRAI in Madras High Court

Madras HC has scheduled the next hearing in the case for February 4

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Jan 24, 2020 7:44 PM

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TRAI

Sun TV Network has challenged TRAI’s recent amendments to the New Tariff Order and filed a case in the Madras High Court. 

The Madras HC order says: “According to the contention raised, neither the broadcaster nor the subscriber are to gain and it is rather “the middlemen” who would be absolutely gaining out of this transaction, where they have an assured revenue without caring for any assessment of the choice or the price affordability vis-a-vis the ultimate consumer or the broadcaster. Several other submissions have also been raised to support the aforesaid contentions.”

As per the court order, the argument in the petitions say: “The contention is that the impugned tariff as well as the Regulations cumulatively have resulted in a regulatory shock without assessing or analysing the entire foundation for bringing about the changed tariff, which, according to him, has not been attempted empirically and which also, according to his submissions, is reflected in the minutes recorded in this regard by TRAI itself.”

Also Read: Does NTO 2.0 jeopardise the future of niche channels?

According to the petition, “There was absolutely no material available either scientifically or legally assessed that could support the introduction of the tariff.”

The order said: “The contention, therefore, is that neither mathematically nor even applying the regulatory jurisprudence, which has to be necessarily subscriber friendly, has any assessment been made and it appears to be an assessment made on an individual analysis made by the TRAI or on the basis of information which can be termed to be speculative and not based on any scientific data.”

The network has said that the regulatory body had amended NTO without consulting the broadcasters.

TRAI’s counsel, according to news reports, has asked the Madras HC to adjourn the matter till the Bombay HC hears the case on January 30.

Madras HC has now scheduled the matter for February 4 and has made the Centre a party to the same.

TRAI has been asked to provide its response when the case is taken up next.

The Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) on January 13 had filed a writ petition against the regulatory body seeking a stay on the implementation of the recent amendments to the New Tariff Order.

The court had called both parties on January 22 and TRAI filed an affidavit in response to the broadcasters' petitions.

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

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