Bombay HC to hear final arguments in NTO 2.0 case in September

The Bombay High Court on Thursday heard the broadcasters challenge to the New Tariff Order (2.0) asking the parties to file any additional submission it would have by 31st August with subsequent hearings to happen in the first week of September for the final verdict.

Bombay HC to hear final arguments in NTO 2.0 case in September

The division bench of Justice AA Sayed and Justice Anuja Prabhudessai heard the matter through video-conferencing in the afternoon informing the parties that it will pronounce a final verdict and not an interim one.

The matter is next to be heard on September 2nd with court leaving it open for the matter to also be heard on 3rd, 7th, and 8th September to finally pronounce its judgment. According to a ET report, 95% of the hearing is said to be done. The status quo is set to continue with their being no stay on the regulations but TRAI expected to refrain from taking any coercive action.

TRAI had on January 1 notified Tariff Amendment Order 2020 which was challenged by broadcasters in multiple high courts. The petitioners in Bombay HC were Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF), Sony Pictures Network India (SPN), Zee Entertainment, TV18 Broadcast Limited, and the Film and TV Producers Guild of India while Discovery Communications and Sun TV Network filed a case in Delhi High Court and Madras High Court respectively.

The court had reserved its verdict in March 1st week after which the COVID-19 induced lockdown followed. Given the increasing regulatory vacuum, TRAI came out with a direction on 24th July asking broadcasters to comply with NTO 2.0 and publish the revised RIO by 10th August. The July 24th directive was again challenged by Zee and TV18 following which Bombay High Court has resumed proceedings in the matter.

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