Star India suffers setback in Supreme Court, TRAI’s tariff order upheld

STAR India Supreme Court,Supreme Court Star TRAI,Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI),Star India broadcaster’s petition,Star India broadcasting media rights

Star India suffered a major setback in the Supreme Court which, upholding the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s tariff order for broadcast sector, has dismissed the broadcaster’s petition.

The SC had reserved the judgement in the matter on October 11 after hearing the arguments. The bench of Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman and Justice Navin Sinha today (Tuesday) ruled to uphold the Madras High Court verdict in the case, states a Television Post report.

Star India had moved the Supreme Court to challenge the Madras High Court had order, which had ruled in favour of the TRAI tariff order and interconnection regulation.

Following the verdict, Star India will have to file its reference interconnect offer (RIO), declaring MRP and bouquet rates.

Star India had challenged TRAI’s jurisdiction to frame the tariff order contending that the exploitation of intellectual property (IP) rights are covered under Copyright Act. The broadcaster has also challenged the TRAI Press release informing about the implementation of the regulatory framework from 3 July.

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The Madras High Court had in an order on 23 May upheld chief justice Indira Banerjee’s order allowing the TRAI’s tariff order and the interconnection regulation for the TV broadcasting sector. Star India and Vijay Television had challenged the Madras High Court verdict in the Supreme Court. The application was moved on July 20.

As per the Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Services (Eighth) (Addressable Systems) Tariff Order, 2017, the broadcasters have to declare the MRP and nature of channels within 60 days; distribution platform operators (DPOs) have to declare network capacity fee and distribution retail price (DRP) within 180 days and reporting by broadcasters within 120 days.

The Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Interconnection (Addressable Systems) Regulations, 2017 mandates publication of Reference Interconnect Offer (RIO) by Broadcasters within 60 days; Publication of Reference Interconnect Offer (RIO) by DPOs within 60 days and signing of the interconnection agreements within 150 days.

Under the Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Services Standards of Quality of Service and Consumer Protection (Addressable Systems) Regulations, 2017, subscribers have to migrate to the new framework within 180 days, the establishment of customer care centre, website, consumer care channel and publication of manual of practice within 120 days.