Delhi HC stays TRAI direction to DTH ops on long duration pack customers

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MUMBAI: The Delhi High Court has stayed the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) 1st May direction directing direct to home (DTH) operators to reinstate their old packs/plans for long duration pack (LDP) subscribers and also to desist from migrating any more LDP subscribers to the new tariff regime.

The TRAI direction was challenged by Tata Sky before the Delhi High Court claiming that the direction was contrary to TRAI’s own new tariff policy.

Tata Sky’s advocate Rishi Agrawala, stated that pursuant to the change in policy, there was a complete migration of subscribers from LDPs namely, quarterly, six monthly and annually, to the new regime, in spite of resistance and criticism from the consumers.

Consequently, all the subscribers adopted the new regime by subscribing to either a limited number of channels or choosing a “Best Fit Plan” in terms of a TRAI direction dated 12th February.

“The TRAI now by way of the Direction dated 01.05.2019 is attempting to once again upset this position and arbitrarily reverse provision of services to subscribers as per the old Agreements which are in existence anymore”, the application stated.

The order was passed by a Division Bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice V Kameswar Rao. The application forms part of the petition filed by Tata Sky and others against TRAI’s new regulatory framework.

The HC was also informed that the migrated subscribers have already been provided a refund of their balance amount in their subscription account. Any further change would lead to a ‘colossal number of consumer disputes’.

On 1st May, the regulator had issued directions to Dish TV India, Tata Sky, Sun Direct, and Independent TV asking them to comply with the regulatory framework. The regulator stated that the DTH operators are not in compliance with the regulation 17 of the Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Services Standards of Quality of Service and Consumer Protection (Addressable Systems) Regulations, 2017.

The TRAI had directed DTH operators to desist from migrating long term plan subscribers to any new plan till the contracted period unless the subscriber opts out of it or the validity of the long-term plan expires, whichever is earlier.

The DTH operators were also directed to reinstate subscribers to earlier long term plans with original validity date to the subscribers who have been migrated to any new plan unless the subscriber has himself opted out for.

The authority had also directed the four DTH operators to submit compliance to regulation 17 of the Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Services Standards of Quality of Service and Consumer Protection (Addressable Systems) Regulations, 2017 within seven days from the date of issue of this direction.


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