High Court refuses to quash order on set-top boxes

The high court order came on a petition of the UP Cable Operators Welfare Association,which alleged unavailability of set-top boxes and a lack of infrastructure for repair of set-top boxes.

Written by Express News Service | Lucknow | Published: April 23, 2013 3:00 am

The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court on Monday dismissed a petition which sought quashing of the November 2011 notification of Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting,setting March 31,as the cut-off date for implementation of phase-II of digitisation of cable TV in 38 cities,including seven in Uttar Pradesh.

The high court order came on a petition of the UP Cable Operators Welfare Association (UPCOWA),which alleged unavailability of set-top boxes and a lack of infrastructure for repair of set-top boxes.

UPCOWA counsel Shivji Shukla also argued that the Telecommunication Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had prepared a draft for tariffs for STBs,which was yet to be prescribed and hence,the notification be quashed.

However,the bench of Justice Uma Nath Singh and Justice Satish Chandra agreed with the submission of Union of India and others respondents that demand of STBs is limited and that they are available in sufficient numbers. The court also agreed that STBs are optional for consumers and that there are many other service providers,like DTH,for providing digital signals. It also said that three similar cases had already been dismissed,including one by a bench headed by the chief justice.

Although the deadline ended on March 31,the analog services were resumed because lakhs of consumers,for some reason,could not install STBs or avail DTH services. Then,it was ‘unofficially’ extended on April 3 for another 15 days. However,the unofficial extension also meant that the consumers stopped taking interest in installing STBs.

Additional Solicitor General of India K C Kaushik said that in UP the digitisation work is almost complete. Hundred per cent work had already been done in Ghaziabad,Meerut,Varanasi and Allahabad and 82-86 per cent in Kanpur,Lucknow and Agra up to April 14.

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