Regulators

SC adjourns NTO 2.0 hearing to 18 August

Broadcasters had challenged the Bombay HC order in the apex court.

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Mumbai: The Supreme Court on Friday adjourned the hearing in a matter pertaining to the New Tariff Order (NTO 2.0) to 18 August.

Last month, The Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) and several leading broadcasters had filed a petition in the Supreme Court against the Bombay high court verdict dated 30 June, which had upheld the constitutionality of the NTO 2.0. The amended NTO 2.0, passed by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) in January 2020, was challenged by broadcasters in the Bombay HC.

After a legal tussle that lasted over a year, TRAI had managed to get a green signal from the court on 30 June on the implementation of the amended NTO 2.0. The division bench of the HC had stated that the challenge to the constitutional validity of the 2020 rules and regulations of TRAI does not hold any water. At the same time, it termed one of the twin conditions “arbitrary”, according to which the maximum retail price of an a-la-carte channel could not be more than one-third the maximum rate of a channel in the bouquet.

The judgment was passed on the petitions filed by several broadcasters under the umbrella of the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) including ZEE Entertainment, Star India, TV18, and Sony Pictures Network India (SPN) who had challenged the NTO 2.0 terming it “arbitrary and in violation of their fundamental right”.

The NTO 2.0 prescribed linkage between a-la-carte price and bouquet and reduced the price cap on the subscription fees for pay channels.

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