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Delhi HC issues notice to TRAI on PIL seeking ban on loud and ‘part-screen’ ads

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court has issued a notice to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) seeking response with regard to the TV commercials which are louder than the main programmes and the ‘part-screen’ ads.

The Delhi HC bench headed by Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice RS Endlaw issued the notice after accepting a PIL from an NGO and posted the matter for hearing on 15 July.

TRAI, which has already come out with a 12-minute ad cap rule under its Standards of Quality of Service (Duration of Advertisements in Television Channels) Regulations, 2012, had earlier decided not to allow loud and part-screen TV commercials. However, it left the issue of loud and part-screen TV commercials out of the ambit of its regulations later.

In its PIL, Mediawatch India has challenged the ‘mala fide’ act of TRAI to omit regulations of Standards of Quality of Service (Duration of Advertisements in Television Channels) Regulations, 2012, meant to regulate part-screen and loud commercials in TV channels.

“Such act of omission is not only a failure of TRAI in discharging its statutory responsibility but highly detrimental to the interests of millions of Indian TV audience,” Mediawatch India lawyer Gaurav K Bansal said in the PIL.

In its PIL, the NGO has asked the court to direct TRAI to amend the said regulations and make them applicable to TV channels transmitted by local cable operators (LCOs), multi-system operators (MSOs), direct-to-home (DTH) service providers and internet protocol television service providers also.

It has also sought direction for establishing a grievance redressal mechanism for effective enforcement of regulations on TV channels and other relevant service providers.

Every broadcaster shall ensure that the advertisements carried on its channels are only full-screen advertisements, and there shall be no part-screen or drop-down advertisement, it said.

Every broadcaster shall ensure that the audio level of the advertisements carried in its channel shall not be higher than the audio level of the programmes being broadcast in that channel.

Meanwhile, news broadcasters and a few regional and music broadcasters have already challenged TRAI’s 12-minute ad cap rule, which is coming up for hearing before the same bench on 15 July.

Also read:

 Delhi HC adjourns ad cap case till 15 July