The Tamil Nadu Arasu Cable TV Corporation has filed a writ petition in the Madras High Court challenging a recent communication of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).

In the petition, B. Murugesh, General Manager, said the Union government had issued a notification mandating that cable TV operation in four metros, including Chennai, had to be digitalised on or before October 31, 2012. Even before that, the Corporation had applied for a Digital Addressable System (DAS) License to the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in July as required under the Cable Television Network Rules, 1994.

“Eleven Multi System Operators (MSOs), who applied after the date of our application, have been issued with DAS licenses for Chennai Metro Area and other areas of Tamil Nadu. Even after the lapse of 17 months the Ministry has not yet processed the application,” he added.

The petitioner said the TRAI had recently issued a circular conveying that in Chennai metro area transmission of analog signals was illegal and the digitalisation should be implemented immediately.

The TRAI threatened the MSOs, local cable operators and the customers that in case the digitalisation was not done then the cable TV connections would be switched off any time.

The corporation said its application for DAS licence was purposefully being delayed by the Ministry. Hence, the corporation filed the writ petitions before the Madras High Court seeking a writ of mandamus for processing and issuance of license. In such circumstances, the TRAI certainly could not insist upon implementation of digitalisation. The petitioner said around 14.30 lakh subscribers in Chennai Metro Area would be severely affected if the TRAI acted as per the terms of the impugned circular.

The petitioner prayed an order of injunction restraining the TRAI from interfering with the transmission of cable TV signals by the Corporation in Chennai Metro Area. After hearing initial submissions of counsel on Wednesday, Justice V. Dhanapalan adjourned the matter for further hearing to Thursday.

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