Decided on August 27,2004



- (1.)SINCE a common question arises in both these appeals, they are disposed of by this order.
(2.)The issue that pertains is as to the validity of question No.2 in the Press Release No.13 of 2004 dated 19th February, 2004 by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India(TRAI). In answer to this question No.2, TRAI had tried to explain the term "charges" in its Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Service Tariff Order 2004 issued on 15.01.2004.
When Appeal No.3(C) of 2004 came up before us on the question of grant of interim order, we passed the following order on 12.03.2004 which gives insight into the issues involved in both the appeals:-

"O R D E R

On 12.3.2004 I passed the following order:

Admit. Mr. Meet Malhotra, Advocate accepts notice on behalf of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India and Mr. Akhil Sibal, Advocate for the Broadcasters i.e. respondent Nos. 2 and 3 Reply may be filed within two weeks. Rejoinder within one week thereafter. To be listed on 7th April, 2004.

Meanwhile on petitioner's paying Rs.17.00 lakhs to the respondents2/3 which is almost double of the amount already being paid for getting signals from the respondents 2 and 3 the signals may be restored with immediate effect to the petitioners in the circles Mumbai, Baroda, Nasik, Belgam, Nagpur, Bangalore. This amount shall be paid by Monday i.e. 15..3.2004 On the statement of Mr. Vaidy anathan I record that the amount is double of what was paid earlier for the month of February.

Apart from that petitioner shall give an undertaking that in case this Tribunal finds that any further amount is payable the same shall be paid with interest as deemed fit. Mr. Akhil Sibal states that signals in Delhi circle to the petitioner have not been stopped.

The petitioner shall pay to the respondents 2 and 3 such amount of compensation or otherwise within such period with such rate of interest as may be ordered by the Tribunal . The undertaking is recorded and accepted.

Detailed order shall be given on Monday, the 15th March, 2004. The interim order shall, however, be given effect to immediately".

3. I have heard the learned counsel for the parties on the question of issue of interim orders. Appellant Indus Media and Communications Ltd., MSO (Multi Service Operator) under the provisions of the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 (for short 'Cable Act') has filed this appeal under Section 14 of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997 (for short "TRAI Act').

(3.)BY notification issued under proviso to clause (k) of sub-section (1) of Section 2 of the TRAI Act Central Government on 9th January, 2004 notified the broadcasting and cable services to be telecommunication services. Telecom Regularity Authority of India (TRAI) under the TRAI Act was entrusted with certain additional functions under the TRAI Act in the said notification. In the Order issued on the same date the TRAI under the powers so conferred issued the Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) ) Service Tariff Order 2004. The notification issuing this tariff order is dated 15th January, 2004. The Tariff Order reads as under:-

[1 of 2004 ]

Section I

Title, Extent and Commencement

1. Short title, extent and commencement:

i. This Order shall be called "The Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Services Tariff Order 2004".

ii. The Order shall cover tariffs for all Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Services throughout the territory of India as also those originating in India or outside India and terminating in India.

iii. The Order shall come into force on the date of its notification in the Official Gazette.

Section II


2. The charges payable by

(a) Cable subscribers to cable operator;

(b) Cable operators to Multi Service Operators/Broadcasters (including their authorised distribution agencies); and

(c) Multi Service Operators to Broadcasters (including their authorised distribution agencies) prevalent as on 26th December 2003 shall be the ceiling with respect to both free-to-air and pay channels, both for CAS and non-CAS areas until final determination by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India on the various issues concerning these harges.

Section III

3. Explanatory Memorandum

Annex A to this Order contains an Explanatory Memorandum for the issue of this Order.

Section IV

4. Interpretation

In case of dispute regarding interpretation of any of the provisions of this Order, the decision of the Authority shall be final and binding."

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