High Court (India)

January 14, 2020

TV broadcasters move Bombay HC against TRAI's latest tariff orders

[ by Kavita Krishnan ]


The Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF), a representative body of TV broadcasters, approached the Bombay High Court on January 13, 2020 challenging the latest amendments to sector tariffs by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).

In December 2019, the TRAI had issued new tariff rules by which prices of the Network Capacity Fee (NCF) were lowered to benefit consumers. Earlier, a sum of Rs. 130 was applicable for all free-to-air channels and consumers were required to pay more in order to watch additional channels. Changes were also mandated to be made in the price of individual channels.

TRAI mandated all broadcasters to effectuate the changes made to the price of pay channels for a-la-carte and bouquets by January 15, 2020 whereas operators are required to show the updated prices by January 30, 2020.

Furthermore, the TRAI notified new rules that would allow broadcasters to include a channel in a pack only if it is priced at Rs. 12 or less. Earlier, it had allowed broadcasters to include a channel inside a bouquet if it was priced at Rs. 19 or below.

The TRAI also proposed certain ceiling on pricing of television channels and noted that such changes will be effective from March 1, 2020. Organisations such as Film and Television Producers Guild of India, Indian Broadcasting Foundation and broadcasters including Sony Pictures, Star India, Disney, Zee Entertainment, Asianet Star Communications and others resisted this move. They filed pleas with the Bombay High Court seeking a stay on the new Tariff order.

The petition is expected to come up for hearing on January 14 before a division bench of Justices S C Dharmadhikari and R I Chagla.

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