Delhi HC issues notices to Trai, MIB on regulation of carriage fee
The Delhi High Court has issued notices to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, expressing a need to bring out regulation on carriage fees charged by direct-to-home operators, multi-system operators, and cable operators.
"There has to be some rationality behind the continuous increase in carriage fees. However the court is not deciding to frame regulation," the Delhi High Court said.
When contacted, a senior MIB official said: "The ministry has not yet received a notice regarding this." Trai chairman Nripendra Misra declined to comment. The Court was hearing the petition filed by Delhi-based news channel Total TV, challenging the validity of carriage fees being charged by DTH operators, MSOs and cable operators.
Earlier on 28 August, Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (Tdsat), in its interim order in the case between Total TV and Prasar Bharati, had permitted the channel to deposit Rs 2.5 million as the carriage fee from 6 September 2008 for a year on provisional basis.
The broadcast tribunal had also directed the DTH operator to continue carrying the channel.
Total TV had approached the court after Prasar Bharati hiked the carriage fee from Rs 2.5 million to Rs 6 million per annum to carry the channel on its DTH platform. The contract between the channel and DTH operator is scheduled to expire on 5 September, 2008.
Total TV's counsel argued that when Trai has not prescribed any carriage fees to be charged by distributors, such types of demands should be held illegal.
The channel further questioned the basis behind fixing such charges when the government had not laid down any regulation regarding carriage fees
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