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TDSAT lists commercial subscriber tariff matter on 5 Dec, IBF to file rejoinder in a week

MUMBAI: The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) has posted the commercial subscriber tariff matter for hearing on 5 December as the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF), the petitioner in the case, has sought a week’s time to file its rejoinder in the matter.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), the respondent in the case, has filed its reply. The authority has said that the commercial subscriber tariff order issued in July is neither in violation of the regulation nor of Article 14 and 19.

The IBF had challenged the TRAI’s tariff order for commercial subscribers in August contending that it was in violation of the fundamental rights of broadcasters by equating commercial subscribers with residential subscribers.

Recently, the Hotel Association of India (HAI) had impleaded itself as the third respondent in the case. The TRAI is the first respondent while Federation of Hotels and Restaurants Association of India (FRAI) is the second respondent in the matter.

In the earlier hearing, the tribunal had refused to stay the operation of the impugned order and had listed the matter for hearing on 18 November.

Consequently, it had kept it open for members of the FHRAI, or for that matter all commercial establishments that were not protected by the 2006 TRAI Regulations, to take the supply of TV channels under the statutory scheme framed by TRAI.

The tribunal had also stated that contracts that were signed before the coming into force of the impugned order shall not be terminated or annulled, but its terms and conditions will remain dormant and ineffective until the disposal of the present petition.

In case, however, the IBF appeal succeeds and the impugned tariff order is set aside and in case there is no consequential direction in the final judgment, the earlier agreements between the subscribers and their respective suppliers of TV channels will be revived, regardless of any other arrangement made by the subscribers during the pendency of this petition.

Moreover, the liabilities and obligations of the subscribers will be determined in terms of the respective bipartite agreements between the subscribers and the suppliers of TV channels as might be in place prior to the coming into force of the impugned tariff order.

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