Mumbai: Bombay High Court is set to hear the petition filed by Broadcasters against TRAI on Monday, 10th Aug as broadcasters had a disappointing Friday as their application against the new tariff order could not be heard due to paucity of time, marking the second day the application has been listed and went unheard.
Big broadcasters had approached the Bombay High Court earlier this week against TRAI’s Aug 8 deadline for the implementation the new tariff order (NTO) 2.0.
The matter was first listed on Wednesday for hearing on Thursday. However, it was pushed to today (Friday) as the bench had to cancel all hearings on Thursday.
Friday was, in a way, the last opportunity for the broadcasters to get a stay on TRAI’s directive — which gives them only time till the end of day tomorrow (Saturday) to come out with new plans and prices.
This means that the broadcasters run the risk of inviting punitive action from TRAI if they fail to announce new tariff plans and packs as directed by the end of the day tomorrow.
On the other hand, if these big broadcasters do upload the new plans and reference interconnect offer on Saturday, there is a chance that some cable or DTH operator may download a copy, fill it and send it to them.
According to the law as it stands, any operator can download the reference interconnect offer — the document that lays down the channel prices, packs and other conditions — from the broadcaster’s website, fill and submit it to demand a connection. Earlier, the process involved considerable mutual negotiation.
There is a stronger possibility that the broadcasters instead hope that they will get some relief from the court on Monday.
So far, out of the dozens of broadcasters, only three or four have complied with TRAI’s directive to publish new prices and packages that are in compliance with the rules issued on Jan 1, 2020, in which TRAI had come out with new rules that forbade any operator from including any channel priced above Rs 12 in any channel pack. This was done to prod the broadcasters into cutting the prices of their popular channels from Rs 19 to Rs 12.