TRAI, Star India bicker before Madras HC regarding serving of written submissions
While the bench has directed Star India to serve its submissions by 5 p.m. today, TRAI will do the same tomorrow
The bitter legal tussle between the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India and Star India regarding the tariff order and interconnect regulations continued before the Madras High Court on Thursday. exchange4media has learnt from reliable sources that TRAI’s counsel P Wilson refused to serve his submissions to the other parties until he gets to read the written submissions of Star India. This was objected to by Star India/Vijay TV’s counsel PS Raman.
After much bickering, the bench led by Chief Justice Indira Banerjee directed Star India to serve their submissions to the parties involved by 5 p.m. Rahul Balaji, who is another counsel representing the petitioners, assured the court that the submissions would be served to the interveners as well. Once this is done, TRAI will serve its submissions tomorrow. The interveners in the case i.e. the All India Digital Cable Federation, Indian Broadcasting Foundation and Videocon d2h have served their submissions and submitted the same to the bench.
On July 31, the concerned parties would be required to file their written submissions with the registry. As per sources, the judgement is expected to be reserved thereafter. While the final call regarding the pronouncement of the order will be taken by the judges, expectations are that the order should come out within 15–20 days. Notified in March 2017, the tariff order and interconnect regulations becomes effective from the month of September.
Another litigation filed by Tata Sky and Bharti Telemedia before the Delhi High Court is slated to be heard next on August 16. If the regulations are upheld by the courts of law then both the broadcasters and distributors will have to necessarily abide by certain regulatory mechanisms which include caps on the price of pay channels, discount on bouquets and network capacity fees. While the petitioners in the twin cases have held the regulations to be in violation of the constitution, the regulator has insisted that it has not overstepped its purview.
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