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Ad cap case gets adjourned one more time

MUMBAI: The Delhi High Court has adjourned the hearing in the ad cap case till 24 March due to paucity of time caused by other pending cases.

The interim order restraining the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) from taking coercive action against petitioners including News Broadcasters Association (NBA) and music and regional channels will continue.

The case was adjourned last year till 21 January for the same reason.

Even as the matter lingers in the court, the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB) under Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government has indicated that it is not in favour of the ad cap.

While the incumbent I&B minister Arun Jaitley has said that the ad cap infringes on the rights of broadcasters, his predecessor had initiated the process of exempting the free-to-air (FTA) channels from the ad cap rule.

The broadcasters on 17 December challenged the ad cap diktat in the Delhi HC after the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) had dismissed their appeal in the wake of the Supreme Court judgment that voiced the tribunal’s jurisdiction over TRAI regulations.

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 Networks.

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’.

The four major broadcast networks—Star India, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd, Multi Screen Media and TV18 Group—are complying with the regulation.

Also read:

I&B minister not in favour of ad cap, bats for raising FDI in news