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TRAI asks broadcasters and DPOs to furnish all agreements except placement and marketing

The Kerala High Court, on July 12, 2021, had partially set aside the provisions of the Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Services Register of Interconnection Agreements and all such other matters Regulations, 2019 to the extent they require registration of placement/marketing agreements

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has asked all the broadcasters and distributors of TV channels to immediately implement the provisions of the Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Services Register of Interconnection Agreements and all such other matters Regulations, 2019, and submit the compliance report within fifteen days.

The regulator had made the Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Services Register of Interconnection Agreements and all such other matters Regulations, 2019 (2 of 2019) on September 4, 2019, and all the provisions of the said regulations came into force w.e.f. January 2, 2020.

The provisions related to the registration of placement and marketing agreements of the said regulations were challenged before the High Court of Kerala by All India Digital Cable Federation (AIDCF).

AIDCF had pleaded before the court that the provisions related to the registration of placement/marketing agreements is violative of the rights of the DPOs as guaranteed under Article 19(1) (g) of the Constitution of India and is also violative of the right to privacy.

“While inter-connect agreements are liable to be regulated by the TRAI, the further agreements which are of a confidential nature which come within the ambit of the right to trade cannot be subjected to such regulation. Such provision is beyond the regulating power of the TRAI under the TRAI Act and is arbitrary, unreasonable and violative of the rights of DPOs,” AIDCF had said in its petition.

The court disposed of the writ petition, vide its judgement dated July 12, 2021, partially setting aside the provisions of the said regulations to the extent they require registration of placement/marketing agreements.

“Thus, all the provisions of the said regulations, except to the extent they require registration of placement/marketing agreements are in operation; and the service providers who have failed to comply with the same, are liable to be proceeded against, under the provisions of the said regulations and TRAI Act, 1997,” the regulator said on Wednesday.

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