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Delhi HC dismisses petitions of Karnataka ops seeking DAS III deadline extension

MUMBAI: The Delhi High Court has disposed of the petitions of the cable TV operators from Karnataka who were seeking extension of digital addressable system (DAS) Phase III deadline.

It may be recalled that the Supreme Court had transferred all cases related to DAS Phase III to the Delhi High Court.

As the time extension duration sought by the petitioners has already passed, the present petition has become infructuous. Karnataka-based V4 Digital Infotech, Mubark Satellite Services and JBM Cable Network had filed petitions in January seeking for an extension by 2–3 months of the DAS Phase III deadline in Karnataka.

“Since the writ petitions were filed on 4 January 2016, this court is of the view that the present writ petitions have become infructuous. Accordingly, the writ petitions stand disposed of,” the HC said in its order.

“Present matters have been listed in pursuance to transfer petitions being allowed by the Supreme Court,” it added.

The petitioners had prayed for issuing directions to the Union of India to consider their representation and grant extension of deadline for DAS Phase III by issuing a writ of mandamus.

It must be noted that the three petitioners have pending cases in the Karnataka High Court related to relaxation in DAS Phase III deadline.

In the case of Mubark Satellite Services, the Karnataka HC had directed the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB) not to disconnect the cable network operated by the petitioner until it gets the DAS licence.

Similarly, in JBM Cable Network’s case, the HC directed the Centre not to take coercive action.

V4 Digital had pleaded that, due to paucity of set-top boxes (STBs), it was not possible to digitise the entire subscriber base before the 31 December 2015 deadline. The HC stayed the disconnection of the petitioner’s analogue network until further orders.

The interim orders in these cases continue as the matter is still pending before the Karnataka High Court.

According to MIB data, the distribution platforms have seeded 3.16 million STBs as on 27 April 2016. As per Census 2011, Karnataka has 2.01 million TV homes in DAS Phase III.