Scatmag.com

January 2017

COURT OKS COMPULSORY DIGITISATION


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BACKGROUND

As indicated in our December 2016 cover story, the Delhi high Court bench of Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva terminated all earlier DAS Phase-3 stays granted by various state High Courts. This was done based on the authorisation it received from the Supreme Court, to centrally hear and decide all DAS petitions.


CONSTITUTIONAL CHALLENGE

However, the constitutional validity of the government imposing compulsory digitisation on all cable TV networks had been challenged separately by various parties.

The Delhi High court bench of Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva felt it was not appropriate for it to hear matters of constitutional validity & transferred these cases to the Delhi High Court bench of Chief Justice Rohini G and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehga.





DAS UPHELD

On 8 December 2016, the 2 judge bench dismissed the cases of Radiant Digitek Networks, Ortel Communications, Moon IT Service, Allahabad Cable TV Operator Welfare Society, Saleem Khan, Agile Broadband, Sharad Kumar Gautam, Ganpati Digital Network, Ashad Hasan Siddiqi, Harinder Kumar, Sree Devi Digital Systems, Pritpal Singh and Harish Malhotra.

The bench also vacated the stay on Nasik Zilla Cable Operator Association (NZCOA) & Maharashtra Cable Operator Federation (MCOF) petitions.


INTERCONNECT ISSUES PENDING

However, the NZCOA & MCOF's pleas on other matters including the Model Interconnect Agreement (MIA) and Standard Interconnect Agreement (SIA) have been posted for hearing on 24 April 2017.

The bench also posted Digiana Projects and OM Systems matter to 24 April since there were no interim orders passed on the petitions.


COURT ORDER

Rejecting the plea that compulsory DAS violated the petitioner's fundamental right to do business, the court directed the petitioners to complete the installation of STBs and change over to DAS within 2 weeks (i.e. by 22 December). They were also told to inform their subscribers of the analog switch off on these networks, by running a scroll. n