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Delhi High Court issued notice on the issue of implementation of section 11 and 12 of the TRAI Act, 1997 calling for information as mandated and seeking the refund of thousand of crores of rupees of public money, requisitioning of the details of the separate accounts maintained by various pay TV broadcasters.

Acting upon a plea, a bench headed by Chief Justice D. N. Patel and Justice C. Hari Shankar issued notice despite the objection by the Respondents over the apprehension of treatment of the petition under Public Interest Litigation. The Bench replied to the apprehension by quoting the amount that has been stuck with these broadcasters involves crores of public money. The Court asked the respondent to file their response with an affidavit and fixed the matter for 11th September, 2019.

The Petitioner submitted to the court that the deliberate inaction of the respondents which are TRAI and Ministry for Information and Broadcasting for aiding various stake-holders of the broadcasting and television content distribution industry with unjust enrichment of thousands of crores  of rupees in their coffer due to excess subscription fee.

The counsel for petitioner, Mr. Harpreet Singh Hora who is also a social activist put forward the chain of events that led him to file the Public Interest Litigation. He stated that Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Services Tariff Order, 2014 also known as 11th  Tariff Amendment Orders (TAO) came into effect allowing for 15% increase in tariff to be collected from subscribers as subscription fee. Another Amendment known as 13th TAO allowed for an increase of tariff rate by 12.5%. However later, TDSAT set aside the aforesaid amendments. Eventually, Supreme Court refused to interfere with the order of TDSAT to set aside the above said amendment.

Read Petition here.

–India Legal Bureau

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