In one of the biggest judgments affecting the Broadcasting Sector, the Hon’ble Supreme Court dismissed the appeal filed by Star against the Judgment passed by the Hon’ble Madras High Court. The Writ Petitions had been filed before the High Court Of Judicature at Madras and the judgment had been reserved on 02.08.2017 and was delivered on 02.03.2018 by the Division Bench comprising of Hon’ble Ms. Indira Banerjee, Chief Justice and the Hon’ble Mr. Justice M. Sundar in W.P. Nos.44126 and 44127 of 2016 and W.M.P.Nos.37951 to 37956 of 2016, 5641, 6050 to 6052, 6054 to 6056 and 11131 of 2017. The Judgment by the Division Bench was followed up by a referral judgment in which the Tariff Order and Regulations barring certain provisions had been upheld by the Hon’ble Madras High Court. The Hon’ble Supreme Court after hearing detailed arguments by Ld. Sr Counels Dr. Abhishek Manusinghvi and Mr. P Chidambaram among others wherein it was pleaded that the impugned Regulations and Tariff Order are against the Copyright Act and in violation of freedom to do business of the Broadcasters had reserved its judgment on 11th October 2018. The dismissal of the appeal by the Hon’ble Supreme Court will affect other litigations filed against the TRAI Regulations and Tariff Order in the Delhi High Court as well wherein the challenge to the same has been made on merits.
The dismissal of the appeal is big set-back for the Broadcasters as they will now have to comply with the Regulations, Tariff Order and Quality of Service Regulations notified by TRAI in 2017 in letter and spirit, the compliance for which has already been notified by TRAI after the Madras High Court Judgment.