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TRP scam: Bombay High Court directs TV Today Network to deposit BARC-imposed Rs 5 lakh fine with court

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New Delhi (ILNS): The Bombay High Court has directed TV Today Network to deposit a fine of Rs 5 lakh imposed by the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) in the alleged TRP scam case.

The division bench comprising Justices Nitin M Jamdar and Milind N Jadhav was hearing a petition filed by TV Today Network which runs India Today and AajTak channels challenging the July 31, 2020 order passed by BARC imposing a fine on the broadcaster.

The petitioner had approached the High Court seeking to quash and set aside BARC’s order and an interim protection against coercive action by the BARC against the channel.

Senior Counsel Veerendra Tulzapurkar appearing for the petitioner submitted that BARC had produced no evidence to prove the allegation against the petitioners, hence the order of the BARC ought to be quashed.

However, Advocate Ashish Kamath appearing for BARC opposed the interim relief.

The bench upheld the BARC’s order of imposing fine on the channel and said: “It will be open to TV Today Network without prejudice to its rights and contentions to deposit the amount of Rs 5 Lakhs as directed by the BARC’s Disciplinary Council in the registry of this Court. If this amount is deposited no coercive steps will be taken against TV Today in the meanwhile.”

Earlier, the regulatory authority had issued a show cause notice to TV Today Network alleging that “without any distribution improvement, there was a significant abnormal jump in the daily average reach of its channels, which creates doubt that network tried to influence the viewers.”

The bench has listed the matter for next hearing on November 5.

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