Delhi HC directs I&B min, TRAI to file reply on plea alleging misconduct by broadcasters

MUMBAI: The Delhi High Court on Friday issued a notice to Information and Broadcasting (I&B) ministry and Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and sought their response on a plea alleging misconduct by the broadcasters, newswire ANI has reported.

The ANI report further stated that the petition filed by a Delhi-based NGO alleged that the broadcasters illegally collected crores of rupees from customers on the basis of 11th and 13th tariff amendment orders (TAO).

A division bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice C Harishankar asked the I&B ministry and TRAI to file their replies before the next date of hearing slated on 11th September.

The petition filed by Advocate Harpreet Singh Hora added that these orders were later set aside by Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) and remanded to the TRAI, the report stated.

According to ANI, the petition said that the decision was upheld in the Supreme Court in 2015 and thus the collection was not legal. It added that the broadcasters were directed to maintain a separate account for the money collected by them.

It also noted that the consumers were entitled to a refund when the matter was settled with the implementation of a new framework. However, when an RTI was filed asking about the accounts and money, the TRAI said that they don’t have any information and transferred it to the I&B Ministry, the petition said.

Hora told the court that the petitioner first approached TRAI but they said that they don’t have any role to play, whereas as per section 11 and 12 of TRAI Act, the regulatory body has the power to call for information, conduct investigations, etc.

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