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Bombay HC asks searching questions to TRAI that may decide fate in NTO 2.0 case

The TRAI counsel sought time to respond on the next date of hearing, which has been fixed for October 8

As the NTO 2.0 case between TRAI and broadcasters is approaching towards a final verdict, the Bombay High Court asked key questions to TRAI yesterday that could decide the fate of the case.

According to sources, a division bench of the Bombay High Court comprising Justice AA Sayed and Justice Anuja Prabhudesai, during the hearing on September 30, 2020, asked whether TRAI had placed twin conditions for consultation.

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The bench noted that more than 90% bouquets in the market are DPO (distribution platform operator) bouquets, which do not seem to be under the same restrictions as applicable to broadcasters’ bouquets. It asked TRAI's counsel to explain how DPO bouquets are bound by the same restrictions applicable to broadcasters.

Giving the example of NTO 1.0, which was implemented without a discount cap on the formation of bouquets by broadcasters (because of it being struck down by court), the bench asked whether NTO 2.0 (2020 amendments) could be implemented without some of the provisions.

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In view of the assurance given earlier by TRAI, the bench asked whether the authority had tried to implement the 2020 amendments.

The TRAI counsel sought time to respond on the next date of hearing, which has been fixed for October 8. The counsels for Union of India and TRAI will complete their arguments in the next hearing.

Keeping in mind the rejoinder to be made by the petitioners (broadcasters), the first half of Friday has been kept as reserve time.

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