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Jan 15, 2020

HC gives no interim relief to television broadcasters challenging TRAI's latest amendments to tariffs

Bombay High Court has refused to give any interim relief to television broadcasters who have challenged the latest amendments to tariffs by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India -TRAI. Seeking postponement of the 15th January deadline for submitting revised tariff, the broadcasters claimed that the amended regulations were arbitrary, unreasonable and in violation of fundamental rights.
TRAI's Counsel Venkatesh Dhond, however claimed that the regulator had received several complaints that channels were overpriced, following which a tariff revision has been suggested. He informed a Division Bench of Justices S.C. Dharmadhikari and R.I. Chagla that the financial effect of the regulations will come into effect only on 1st of March this year.

Last month, TRAI issued new tariff rules after which consumers will be required to pay 130 rupees as NCF charge, but will get 200 channels. The petition opposed the tariff amendments, arguing they will adversely impact the sector's growth.

The broadcasters claimed that consumer choices differ not only from one part of the country to another, but also within different parts of a state, a city and even within a household. The bench has directed TRAI to file a reply and adjourned the hearing to 22nd of this month. 

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