A division bench of the High Court, comprising acting Chief Justice N.V. Ramana and Justice Vilas Afzulpurkar, on Tuesday found fault with the Central government for not taking steps for a smooth transition to digital transmission of cable signals to homes. The Bench declared that orders on the writ petition seeking supply of set-top boxes as part of digitisation of cable transmissions in Hyderabad and Vishakhapatnam would be delivered on June 4. Other petitions filed by cable operators have been tagged to this case.

The Bench heard arguments on behalf of the petitioner, Chalasani Narendra, senior journalist and rights activist. The petitioner contended that the supply of set-top boxes was not sufficient enough, and that consumers were being forced to buy substandard boxes at higher rates. The court was told that the Standards of Quality of Service Regulations 2012, Consumers Complaint Redressal Regulations 2012 and the Telecommunication (broadcasting and cable services) interconnection Regulations 2012 mandated certain duties upon the MSO and the authorities.

Wide publicity to the creation of complaint cells, repair centres and appointment of nodal officers to oversee the grievance redressal mechanism should have been done first, and then STBs were to be installed. The bench said that the Central and State governments were not ensuring that the mandatory provisions were implemented and added that it was not inclined to entertain cable operators’ requests or to expand the scope of the PIL. The case has been posted to June.

Orders on the writ petition seeking supply of set top boxes as part of digitisation of cable transmissions in Hyderabad and Vishakhapatnam will be delivered on June 4