The Madras High Court has said there cannot be any disconnection of cable TV signals of the Tamil Nadu Arasu Cable TV Corporation (TNACTVC) Ltd., in Chennai Metro area pursuant to an announcement by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), New Delhi, that transmission of analog cable tv signals in the area was illegal.
The TRAI press release of December 10 said digitisation in Chennai Metro area should be implemented immediately. If digitisation was not done, cable TV connections would be switched off any time.
The TNACTVC filed a petition seeking an injunction restraining TRAI from interfering with the transmission of its cable TV signals in Chennai Metro area.
Following amendment to the Cable Television Networks Rules which came into effect from 2012, the TNACTVC, being a Multi-System Operator (MSO), applied to the Centre last year requesting DAS licence. There was no response. It filed writ petitions and the same were pending.
Since the petitioner had licence for MSO, it continued to give analogous signals as per the erstwhile regulations. It had taken steps to get the DAS licence.
The TRAI issued the December 10 press release. Apprehending that the press release would be implemented any time, the petitioner approached the court with the present petition.
In the interim order, Justice V. Dhanapalan said it was not known why the Centre had not taken any decision on Arasu Cable TV’s application so far.
The petitioner had been permitted for multi system operations. Considering that the petitioner had applied to the Centre for DAS licence, the court felt that the centre was not justified in keeping the matter pending.
When the authorities of the Centre and the State were not in a position to take a decision on the DAS licence as the case may be, the ultimate sufferers were innocent subscribers.
Therefore, he was of the considered opinion that the subscribers could not be put to hardship and irreparable loss. As such there could not be any disconnection of signals to the subscribers by the authorities.
‘Take decision soon’
Mr. Justice Dhanapalan directed the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to take a decision on the petitioner’s application as soon as possible.
The court posted the main writ petition for hearing after four weeks for counter and disposal.