Trai Directive to Continue Long Term Plans Now in Jeopardy as Delhi HC Orders a Stay

Delhi High Court has overruled the directive issued by the telecom regulator thus barring the reinstating of long term packs for DTH subscribers

Highlights
  • This new development comes after Tata Sky filed an application against Trai
  • Trai is already against broadcasters and DTH companies in a legal battle ensuing in Delhi HC

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) had passed an order shortly after the implementation of the new tariff regime directing the DTH operators in the country to continue providing the long-term packs to the subscribers similar to how they were doing prior to the new tariff regime. However, now Delhi High Court has passed another order on Wednesday which stays the previous directive of Trai on the long-term plans. The Delhi High Court has also ordered the sector regulator to stop migrating any more LDP subscribers to the new tariff regime.

Tata Sky Raises Argument in a New Application Against Trai

The order from Delhi High Court came from Division Bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice V Kameswar Rao in an application by Tata Sky challenging a May 1 direction issued by Trai to this effect. This new application filed by the DTH operator is part of a more extensive series of petitions filed by the DTH companies and broadcasters who are against Trai and have questioned the new tariff regime. Tata Sky, in its claim, has said that the direction was against its own tariff policy.

Tata Sky has filed this new application through advocate Rishi Agrawala and has noted that in the days following the rollout of the new tariff regime all subscribers of the long-term packs were migrated to the new tariff regime. This was done in accordance with the new regulatory framework of the sector regulator even though these subscribers were reluctant to move to the new pricing framework. A lot of these subscribers had also criticised the new regulatory framework.

Tata Sky Application Points Out Two Contradictory Directives from Trai

Further, Trai in its order on February 12 had directed all the DTH and cable TV service providers to migrate the subscribers to “best-fit plans” (BFPs) in case they had not made their choice about the channels or not yet migrated to the new tariff regime. About this, the application by Tata Sky said, “The Trai now by way of the Direction dated 01.05.2019 is attempting to once again upset this position and arbitrarily reverse provision of services to subscribers as per the old Agreements which are in existence anymore.”

The application also raised the argument that according to the May 1 order of Trai, two parallel regimes would come into play, and the distribution platform operators would also be exposed to huge losses. The court also supplemented its statement saying that the consumers have already been returned the amount of their leftover subscription and any further change in the policy would lead to a “colossal number of consumer disputes”.

Based on this, Tata Sky sought a stay on the May 1 directive of Trai saying that DTH providers and consumers alike would suffer irreparable harm and injury if a stay was not granted to this order.

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Arpit spends his day closely following the telecom and tech industry. A music connoisseur and a night owl, he also takes a deep interest in the Indian technology start-up scene and spends rest of his time spilling poetry and stories on paper.

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