The Delhi High Court on May 25 dismissed a case filed by TV Today network against Republic TV for allegedly running on multiple frequencies. The case was filed seeking a direction to ensure that the broadcasters, TV channels and distributors comply with the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) regulations.
The network had also requested to prohibit the Broadcast Audience research Council (BARC) of India from releasing the viewership data of any channel not in compliance with the TRAI regulations. The network alleged that Republic TV was appearing on two Logical Channel Numbers (LCNs) in two different genres.
Any channel has to declare any one genre and be placed at one location by the Distribution Platform Operator (DPO) and Republic TV denied the allegations made in the petition stating that ARG Outlier Media has only declared its channel in the genre “news and current affairs”. The channel denied using multiple genres.
The respondents (BARC and Republic TV) suggested that the petition is not maintainable. TRAI also argued that it has received many such complaints in the same matter. The counsel of the TRAI said that the allegations contained in this petition were also raised against many other channels including the petitioner, and the matter is under investigation.
The petitioner then clarified that its channels have been declared only in the ‘news and current affairs’ genre. TV Today Network also stated that since Republic TV has declared the channel only in “news and current affairs” genre, it “does not wish to press the present petitions and reserves its right to take remedies before the TRAI or other appropriate forum in accordance with law.”
Hence, the petition was dismissed as withdrawn by the Delhi High Court. The concluding statement of the order read, “It is clarified that the court has neither examined nor opined on the contention of either the petitioner or the respondents and the issue of maintainability has not been gone into.”
However, India Today issued a statement to the press late last night, which said, “In India Today’s writ petition, Republic TV categorically assured Delhi High Court that it is not in multiple placings and not in different genres and the high court order recorded that. Delhi High Court also noted on-going TRAI investigation against channels allegedly doing so. On the basis of this specific assurance by Republic TV, India Today withdrew its writ petition. Anything to the contrary suggested by Republic TV is a patent distortion and misrepresentation of the Delhi High Court order.”