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Ad cap case adjourned to 13 May

MUMBAI: The Delhi High Court has adjourned the ad cap matter until 13 May due to preoccupation with other cases. In the earlier hearing, the case was pushed to 27 April.

The interim order restraining the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) from taking coercive action against petitioners will continue. The ad cap matter has been adjourned many times since the matter reached the Delhi High Court in December 2013.

In the earlier hearing on 23 September, the HC had accepted Home Cable Network’s application to be impleaded in the matter. The multi-system operator (MSO) prayed for dismissal of the NBA petition.

The HC had again adjourned the ad cap case until 27 November as NBA senior counsel S Ganesh was unavailable. Due to commitments in the Supreme Court, the senior counsel had sought accommodation from the high court.

The NBA also informed the court that it was in talks with the MIB to resolve the matter.

Earlier, the Delhi High Court had adjourned the case until 23 September, as the NBA had sought an adjournment stating that it was in talks with the MIB to resolve the matter.

With I&B Minister Arun Jaitley hinting at the possibility of doing away with the ad cap rule, the regional, news and music broadcasters are hoping that the ad cap matter will be settled out of court.

Jaitley had in January indicated that he was not in favour of the 12-minute ad cap diktat, much to the relief of the news, regional and music channels.

His predecessor Prakash Javadekar had even announced that the government was thinking of exempting free-to-air (FTA) channels from following the ad cap rule. However, Javadekar was stripped of the ministry even before he could deliver on his promise.

Apart from the NBA, a number of other regional broadcasters had challenged TRAI’s ad cap regulation including 9X Media, B4U, TV Vision, Sun TV Networks, E 24, Pioneer Channel, Sarthak Entertainment, Kalaignar TV, Eenadu Television and Raj TV Network.

While the HC had granted interim relief preventing TRAI from taking coercive action against the petitioners, it had also described the ceiling on advertisements as a ‘reasonable exercise’ while granting relief to Telugu broadcaster Maa TV.