The Delhi High Court on Wednesday sought the central government's response to a petition filed by private broadcaster Star India challenging the sector regulator's order that prescribed the fee channels can charge from subscribers under Conditional Access System (CAS).
Justice Mukul Mudgal issued notices to the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, several Multi-System Operators and Cable operators on Star's petition, which contended that regulation and fixation of tariff by regulator TRAI was illegal.
TRAI had, on August 31, put a cap of Rs 5 per pay channel to be charged by the broadcasters like Star, Zee, Sony and ESPN.
Whereas Star had quoted a wholesale price of Rs 24 for its flagship channel Star Plus, Rs 20 for 'Star Movies', Rs 14 for 'Star World' and Rs 10 for 'Star Gold'.
Sony had quoted a wholesale price of Rs 24 for its main channel, Rs 20 for SET Max and Rs 15 for English movie channel 'Set Pix', while Zee had quoted a wholesale price of Rs 26.75 for Zee TV, Rs 10.7 for Zee Trendz and Rs 21.04 for 'Zee Movies'.
Star India has also challenged as "illegal" the government's notification to implement CAS, which allows subscribers to pick and watch channels and pay only for them.
Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi appearing for the private broadcaster contended that the regulation of broadcasting was beyond TRAI's jurisdiction.
The High Court would hear the matter on November 15.