The Bombay High Court has reserved the judgment in the case of the new tariff order amendments (NTO 2.0) as the hearing ended on Thursday, 5 March. While there’s ambiguity lingering in the ecosystem, the court is expected to give its judgment in a couple of days.
According to sources close to the development, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) cited the judgment by Justice Nariman of Supreme Court delivered in 2018 and judgment of Delhi HC from 2007 to support that it has full right to regulate broadcasters. TRAI alleged that regulating bouquet formation and discounts prescribed in the NTO 2.0 is important because broadcasters use the same to push unwanted channels to consumers and are only interested in increasing their advertisement revenue.
On the other hand, broadcasters argued that bouquets help to make large number of channels cheaper for consumers and also attempted to prove that due to competition from streaming services and telcos, regulation for broadcast TV ought to be reduced. As LCOs filed an independent writ petition asking for stay, they also argued that any attempt by TRAI to bring down NCF will kill their business.
As none of the high courts pronounced any clear order on interim relief, the amended regime came into play from 1 March. Among the DPOs, Tata Sky, Airtel, Dish TV, Siti Cable and IMCL have implemented NTO 2.0 and reduced their NCF.