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Ad case hearing adjourned to 27 Apr

MUMBAI: The Delhi High Court will hear the ad cap case on 27 April as Home Cable System, a respondent in the matter, sought an early hearing in the case.

The court had earlier adjourned the case to July after the counsel of the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB) had sought some time.

However, the date was advanced to 27 April after intervention by Home Cable.

In the earlier hearing, the matter was adjourned to 29 March as the court was preoccupied with other matters.

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) has prayed for dismissal of the NBA petition.

The HC had again adjourned the ad cap case to 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 had 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 to 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 hope 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 rule much to the relief of 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.