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MIB’s update on DAS Phase III court cases

MUMBAI: The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB) has approached the Solicitor General for defending cases related to the third phase of digital addressable system (DAS) in the Delhi High Court.

The ministry will also press for early hearing of these cases, MIB advisor Yogendra Pal said.

Pressing hard for lifting the verdict of various court cases that had slowed down the implementation of DAS in Phase III, the MIB is also drafting a special leave petition (SLP) against the order of the Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court that had directed the state administration to de-seal the control room of local cable operators (LCOs) in light of the Bombay bench’s order that a stay order on a central notification by one HC would be applicable across the country in view of Supreme Court judgment in Kusum Ingots case.

As per the order, the stay order by the Hyderabad High Court granting extension of DAS Phase III deadline in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana will be applicable across India.

Pal revealed that the MIB had sought the advice of the Ministry of Law on the Bombay High Court judgment. The law ministry observed that the order passed by the Hyderabad High Court appeared to have all-India applicability.

Pal informed that 62 cases had been filed by some multi-system operators (MSOs) in various courts across the country for extension of the Phase III deadline. Out of these 62 cases, 12 have been disposed of by the respective courts and three have been withdrawn by the petitioners.

Of the remaining cases, 29 have been transferred by various courts to the Delhi High Court while 18 cases are yet to be transferred.

Two cases are scheduled for hearing by the Delhi High Court on 13 September, Pal said during the recent DAS Task Force meeting.

The multiple court cases granting stay orders have brought DAS Phase III to a standstill with analogue signals still transmitting unabated.

In view of the multiple cases filed in various courts, the ministry had filed a petition in the Supreme Court for transfer of all the cases to the apex court or the High Court of Delhi with a prayer for urgent hearing and quashing of the extension of deadline granted by some of the courts.

The apex court had passed an order of transfer of all cases for extension in Phase III deadline and any new cases on a similar prayer to the Delhi High Court for adjudication.

While there were no court cases on the extension of the cut-off date for Phase III in 20 states, the MIB, in view of the observations of the Ministry of Law, was unable to issue directions to switch off analogue signals in Phase III areas, Pal told the Task Force members.

Representatives of the IBF and national MSOs offered to supplement the efforts of the ministry in the various court cases and requested that the status of the court cases filed for Phase III extension be provided to them.

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