INDUSIND MEDIA AND COMMUNICATIONS LIMITED Vs. TELECOM REGULATORY AUTHORITY OF INDIA
LAWS(TD)-2004-3-1
TELECOM DISPUTES SETTLEMENT AND APPELLATE TRIBUNAL
Decided on March 15,2004

Appellant
VERSUS
Respondents

JUDGEMENT

- (1.)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".

(2.)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').
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:-

"THE TELECOMMUNICATION (BROADCASTING AND CABLE) SERVICES TARIFF ORDER 2004[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 IITariff

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

(3.)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."

4. The explanatory memorandum was attached to the tariff order wherein reference was made of order of the Delhi High Court which had directed the continuance of CAS (Conditional Access Service) in Delhi on a trial basis, initially for a period of three months after which the High Court was to issue appropriate directions taking into account the feed back of the three months period. It was in accordance with this order of the High Court which is dated 26th December, 2003 that the ceiling rates were fixed in the tariff order as those prevailing on 26th December, 2003. On 10th March, 2004 TRAI issued the Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Services Tariff (First Amendment) Order 2004. This order is as under:

"The Telecommunication ( Broadcasting and Cable) Services Tariff(First Amendment) Order, 2004(3 of 2004)

Section ITitle, Extent and Commencement

1.Short title, extent and commencement:

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

ii. Except Chennai Metropolitan Area where interim stay has been granted by Madras High Court in writ petition numbers 4863, 4890, 4936 and 4919 of 2004, 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 IITariff

2. Clause 2 of Section II of The Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Services Tariff Order, 2004, shall be substituted by the following:

"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 until final determination by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India on the various issues concerning these charges."

Section III

3. Explanatory Memorandum

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



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