Viewers of non-digital cable television in Chennai face the grim prospect of a screen blackout, with the Madras High Court on Thursday declining to extend the deadline for introducing compulsory digitisation in the metropolis.

When a writ petition filed by the Chennai Metro Cable TV Operators Asssociation challenging a Centre’s notification fixing the deadline and extending the last date for introducing the Digital Addressable System (DAS) came up before a Division Bench consisting of Justices Elipe Dharma Rao and S.Rajeswaran, the petitioner prayed the court for extending the deadline.

Senior Central Government Standing Counsel S.Haja Mohideen Gisthi opposed any grant of extension of time. In the order, the Bench just said, “Adjourned by four weeks.”

Originally, Justice N.Paul Vasanthakumar had extended the time limit till November 19, on which date he said that since the issue involved a larger public interest, the case should be heard by a Division Bench.

Accordingly, the matter came to be posted before a Bench headed by Justice P.P.S.Janarthana Raja, who expressed his inability to hear the case. Hence, it came up before the Bench headed by Justice Elipe Dharma Rao which on Thursday adjourned the case.

Now the ball is in the Information and Broadcasting Ministry’s court.

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