With Deepavali fast approaching, television viewers in Chennai can heave a sigh of temporary relief with the Madras High Court on Friday extending the deadline for implementing the Digital Addressable System (DAS) in cable television till November 19.

Justice N.Paul Vasanthakumar passed the interim order when a petition by the Chennai Metro Cable Television Operators Association seeking deferment of the implementation of DAS came up for further hearing. He also ordered that as the issue involved a larger public interest, the petition be heard by a Division Bench.

Counsel for Tamil Nadu Arasu Cable Television Corporation, Abdul Salim, sought time to file the counter affidavit.

Senior Central Government Standing Counsel S.Haja Mohideen Gisthi produced the written instructions to him wherein it had been stated that taking note of the realities in the letter dated October 16 of the Tamil Nadu government, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry would abide by any direction of the court to extend the time limit for implementation of DAS in Chennai up to the requested date of December 31 this year. The communication also said that the Tamil Nadu government should file an affidavit of undertaking to switchover to the DAS regime by December 31 without seeking any further extension of time.

The court took note of the communication. Mr.Justice Paul Vasanthakumar said that as the petition involved a larger public interest, he was of the view that the matter should be placed before a Division Bench. He said the interim order already passed would be extended till November 19.