Calcutta HC grants interim stay on TRAI tariff order roll-out while Madras HC dismisses PIL

MUMBAI: In a major setback for the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), the Calcutta High Court has reportedly stayed the implementation of the new tariff order till 18th February.

Hearing a petition filed by 80 local cable operators (LCOs), the HC directed the TRAI to file a reply by 13th February. The LCOs have challenged the revenue share arrangement prescribed by the TRAI under the new tariff order.

“Besides, a majority of the subscribers have not responded with their list of preferred pay channels. Under such circumstances, it would be difficult to efficiently implement the switchover,” The Times of India quotes Lawyer Debabrata Saha Roy as saying. Saha Roy represented the LCOs in the HC.

Meanwhile, the Madras High Court has dismissed a petition challenging the TRAI’s regulations and tariff order. The division bench comprising justices S Manikumar and Subramonium Prasad also upheld the 31st January deadline for the migration of customers to the new regime.

While dismissing the public interest litigation (PIL) filed by V Rama Rao, the bench quoted the recent Supreme Court verdict stating that TRAI had jurisdiction to lay down tariff and regulations for TV channels.

In the PIL, the petitioner contended that the process of cable TV digitisation has not been completed in the state. He also stated that only 4.6 million homes have gone digital as opposed to 11.1 million TV homes in the state.