By LE Staff

Mumbai, July 1, 2021:  The Bombay High Court has partially upheld the validity of the New Tariff Order, issued by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India in January 2020 prescribing price ceilings on the rates charged by television channels.

At the same time, a Division Bench of Justices AA Sayed and Anuja Prabhudessai struck down one of the pricing conditions as unconstitutional.

The verdict was pronounced in a batch of petitions filed by organizations such as the Film and Television Producers Guild of India, Indian Broadcasting Foundation and broadcasters including Sony Pictures, Star India, Disney, Zee Entertainment, TV18, Asianet Star Communications and others.

The Bench upheld the pricing condition that the sum of the a-la-carte rates of the pay channels (MRP) forming part of a bouquet shall in no case exceed one and half times the rate of the bouquet of which such pay channels are a part. The High Court, however, struck down as unconstitutional the stipulation that a-la-carte rates of each pay channel (MRP), forming part of a bouquet, shall in no case exceed three times the average rate of a pay channel of the bouquet of which such pay channel is a part.

The petition had challenged the Constitutional validity of the Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Services (Eighth) (Addressable Systems) Tariff Order, 2017 and Tariff Order, 2020 along with Section 11 of the TRAI Act.

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