Hon’ble Supreme Court refers the Challenge to TRAI Regulations & Tariff Order by Broadcasters back to a Senior Judge of the Madras High Court

The Hon’ble Supreme Court vide its judgement dated 12.03.2018 was pleased to refer the matter back to a Senior Judge of the Hon’ble Madras High Court as contemplated by the Chief Justice of the Madras High Court in the dissenting judgement delivered by the Division Bench of the same Court two weeks earlier. The matter captioned Star India Private Limited Vs. Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion & Ors.[ SLP (C) No. 14336/2017] was filed before the Madras High Court as a challenge to the TRAI Regulations and Tariff Order notified by the the Authority on 03.03.2017 and the main grounds of challenge were that it is in violation of the Copyright Act.

The Division Bench of Hon’ble Mr. Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman and Hon’ble Mr. Justice AK Goel, Hon’ble Supreme Court today in Court Room No. 11 as Item No. 33 heard the strong submissions of the  Ld. ASG wherein he stated that there are various cases on the same Regulation & Tariff Order pending before various State High Courts i.e. Kerala & Delhi apart from Madras and therefore such connected matters can be heard together by the Hon’ble Supreme Court. The Ld. Senior Counsel Mr. P Chidambaram appearing for the Petitioner stated that the matter maybe decided in a time bound manner in terms of the split verdict at the Madras High Court. Sr. Counsel Mr. Chidambaram also pointed out as in the other matters i.e. those in Delhi High Court & Kerala High Court, the case has been challenged on merits whereas in the Madras High Court, the matter is dealing with a specific issue of law as to whether there is a conflict of the Copyright Act by the present Regulations and Tariff Order.

The same matter was listed earlier on 06.03.2018 before the Division Bench of Hon’ble Mr. Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman and Hon’ble Mr. Justice Navin Sinha, Hon’ble Supreme Court in Court Room No. 12 as Item No. 8 in light of the split verdict at the Madras High Court. The Hon’ble Supreme Court was apprised with respect to the Madras High Court judgment. The Ld. ASG appearing on behalf of TRAI submitted that TRAI will be filing a Transfer Petition praying for the matter to be referred to the Hon’ble Supreme Court itself for further adjudication. He also stated that a similar matter had been filed in the Kerala High Court and was stayed for reasons of pendency before other fora. The Ld. Senior Counsels appearing on behalf of the Broadcasters stated that since a question of law is involved they would be happy to make their arguments before the Hon’ble Supreme Court as well if the Hon’ble Bench sees it fit. Thereafter the matter was listed on 12.03.2018 for directions.

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