Madhya Pradesh high court on Tuesday served notices to the Union government, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and others on a PIL for direction to extend the March 31 deadline for mandatory installation of set top box (STB) by cable operators for television viewing.
Three cities of Madhya Pradesh including Bhopal, Jabalpur and Indore are covered by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting order of November 11, 2011 for mandatory digitisation of cable television by March 31, 2013.
The PIL asked the court to direct the respondents not to take any coercive action including stoppage of Ministry of Information and Broadcasting by permitting it to run in the present format so that the cable connection holders can view all channels beyond the deadline.
A division bench comprising Justice Ajit Singh and Justice Sanjay Yadav directed the respondents to file a reply to the PIL within two weeks.
The PIL cited the example of Jabalpur where only 1.25 lakh STBs have been installed as of now, out of over 6 lakh television connections with the cable operators.
The petitioner’s counsel Greeshm Jain said the cable operators have run short of STBs and even if they start installing 2,500 STBs every day starting from today, they would require one year to install them at every house. He, therefore, argued that the deadline for installation of STBs should be extended.
Narendra Jain, ex-president of District Bar Association Jabalpur, has filed the PIL.