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Cable case: Centre, Trai, Star to file reply

March 03, 2004 15:17 IST

The Delhi high court on Wednesday asked the Centre, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India and Star India Pvt Ltd to respond to a petition challenging the January 9 government notification bringing the broadcast and cable services under Trai's jurisdiction.

Asking the three respondents to file their replies to the petition filed by Saisagar Cable Network, Manmad, Maharashtra within 10 days, Justice Manmohan Sarin fixed April 10 for further hearing the matter.

The court had on February 26 issued notices to the respondents following which Star India also appeared today.

Petitioner's counsel Ankur Talwar submitted that Star India "unilaterally disconnected" the petitioner's signal on January 15, the day Trai ordered freezing of charges payable by subscribers to cable operators, cable operators to multi service operators and MSOs to broadcasters as prevalent on December 26 last.

The order was applicable to both for pay and free-to-air channels in CAS (conditional access system) and non-CAS areas.

Star has replaced the petitioners with a new cable operator and Saisagar Cable was suffering losses, he said.

Talwar urged the court to quash the January 9 government notification and direct Trai to act on its representation dated January 19 and decide the matter.

It has led to a piquant situation for the petitioner as the notification has the effect of taking away jurisdiction of civil courts in the event of any dispute between any cable operator and a broadcaster as also other disputes involving cable operators and MSOs, he submitted.

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