Delhi High Court clears digitisation hurdles

Delhi High Court has removed all hurdles, paving the way for implementation of DAS IV by January 1, 2017. The Court has dismissed all remaining cases and cleared the path for digitisation of DAS Phase 3 areas in the country. Last month, the Court had over-ruled the orders passed by various other High Courts and vacated the stay granted for extension of digitisation in DAS Phase 3 for eight other cases. 

DAS Phase 3 implementation deadline of December 31, 2015 had been impacted due to stay orders granted by various High Courts. Basis Ministry of Information Broadcasting’s recommendation, in April, the Supreme Court had transferred all cases related to extension of DAS Phase 3 deadline filed in various High Courts to the Delhi High Court, thus making it a Designated Court for all related matters. 

The Delhi High Court, while disposing off all pending petitions, has directed all petitioners to run a scroll on their networks about digitisation and switch off analogue signals in two weeks. All petitioners have also been directed to inform the change-over from analogue to digital signals to all their subscribers in advance. 

With this order, there is no roadblock for digitisation in DAS Phase 3 areas. This would lead to better services and choice for customers. It also would bring in further transparency to the industry. 

The MIB, the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) and its members, MSOs and various other stakeholders have been working hard to prepare the ground for the eventual sunset of analogue in the largest part of the country to date. There were initial hiccups in the form of unavailability of Set Top Boxes, pending applications for MSO registrations. 

Girish Srivastava, Secretary General, IBF, remarked, “When we thought the worst was behind us, we were hit by a flurry of litigations, all filed within a space of 15 days starting with December 30, 2015 in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Stays were obtained on implementation for periods of up to two months. Soon the fire spread to 18 other High Courts with over 50 petitions being filed.” 

Commenting on the development, Punit Goenka, President, IBF, said, “We welcome all stakeholders into the dawn of a new era and hope that the digitisation bandwagon continues unabated in Phase IV as well, which is to be implemented from January 1, 2017.” 

While welcoming the judgement, VD Wadhwa, Executive Director and CEO of Siti Networks, said, “With this order, all remaining hurdles in the path of digitisation have now been removed by the Delhi High Court. This is a landmark moment in the Digital India journey as it will also clear the passage for timely implementation of DAS Phase 4 of digitisation. The industry had been suffering due to pending litigation and with this welcome move all hurdles have been cleared. It is now obligatory on part of broadcasters and other players to disconnect analogue signals within two weeks.”


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