Delhi High Court removes digitisation hurdles

Delhi High Court has passed an order which has over-ruled the orders passed by various other High Courts, whereby the stay granted for extension of digitisation for nine cases spanning four states in DAS Phase 3 will no longer be applicable.

DAS Phase 3 implementation deadline of December 31, 2015 had been impacted due to stay orders taken in 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.

In his order on November 3, Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva of the Delhi High Court’s single bench, directed all nine petitioners to run a scroll on their networks about digitisation and switch off analog signals in three weeks. Justice Sachdeva also said that these cases were infructuous as the time sought for extension had already been given and the extension was well passed those dates.

The nine cases for which the order was given are from four states, viz. Karnataka (Riddhi Vision, Victory Digital, Sri Chowdeshwary Cable Network, Yogesh Cable Networks, Amma TV), Kerala (Athulay Infomedia), Andhra Pradesh & Telangana (Panchajanya Media), and Uttar Pradesh (Sai Cable TV Network, Sunil Kr Singh).

While welcoming the judgement, VD Wadhwa, Executive Director and CEO of Siti Networks, said, “This is a very important judgement as the Honourable Delhi High Court has dismissed the nine cases, thus paving the path for digitisation. Not just in DAS Phase 3 areas, this order will also clear the passage for timely implementation of DAS Phase 4 of digitisation.”

Wadhwa further said, “Digitisation is very important for not just the consumers, who will get better service and more choice in terms of channel packages, but also for Local Cable Operators, MSOs and broadcasters. It will allow for parity in sharing of revenues as per TRAI guidelines. This will also aid in increasing the internet penetration in the country and thus realising the Digital India dream.”

He urged all concerned to comply with the Court’s orders to seed digital set top boxes and switching off of analog signals in three weeks’ time.


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