The Delhi High Court has initiated winding up proceedings against Mahuaa Media and has also appointed a provisional official liquidator. With this, the Telecom Disputes Settlement & Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) has directed distribution platform operators (DPOs) to file an application to make the official liquidator aware of the present proceedings. According to TDSAT, the application must be filed within two weeks from 24 April and a copy of report of the auditors appointed by the committee under the authority of this tribunal may also be enclosed with the application proposed to be filed.
Six years after the CBI filed the first charge sheet, a special court, on 26 April, has reserved its verdict in the 2G spectrum allocation scam cases involving former Telecom Minister A Raja DMK MP Kanimozhi and others as accused. Special Judge O P Saini, who is exclusively dealing with the cases arising out of the 2G spectrum scam, fixed July 15 for pronouncement of the verdict in the three cases.
TDSAT, the telecom tribunal,on April 21, deferred to May 3 the hearing on a plea challenging the decision of regulator TRAI to allow free offers of Reliance Jio to continue beyond the stipulated 90 days.The petition was moved by BhartiAirtel and Idea Cellularalong with an interim application moved by the Sunil Bharti Mittal-led firm that objected to the alleged delays by Jio while withdrawing its three-month complimentary 'Summer Surprise Offer'.
Sun TV Network has been asked by the Madras High Court not to use Sony Music songs without latter’s permission. Some time back, Sony Music had filed a petition in the HC alleging that Sun TV was using a number of its songs without licence. The company had sent a cease and desist notice to Sun TV on 27 July last year after an exchange of letters between the two parties and meetings between their counsellors had failed to yield any result. Sony Music also alleged that, in response to one of its letters, the southern broadcaster had stated that “it was the absolute copyright holder of films under the South Indian BSE 6.24% Cinematograph Films”.
Without giving any relief to Zee TV, the Bombay HC on 7th April has dismissed its plea against Sony Pictures in an alleged copyright suit. Zee Entertainment Enterprises alleged that Sony infringed copyright of its hit show ‘Best Dramebaaz’.According to Zee,the copyright was infringed in its “concept note” and “production bible”. A production bible contains various aspects of a show production.
The multi-system operator (MSO) Asianet Satellite Communications and broadcaster Star India will have to sign the interconnect agreement based on RIO (reference interconnect offer) terms with effect from 1 April, the Telecom Disputes Settlement & Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) said.
PP Chaudhary, Minister of State for Law and Justice, told the Lok Sabha that there has been no proposal to launch a TV channel to spread legal awareness. He said, “There is no proposal at present to launch a TV channel to spread legal awareness. The government has undertaken various initiatives for legal awareness through print and electronic media in collaboration with different Ministries like HRD, Electronics and IT, Rural Development, various state governments, civil societies and multilateral international organisations like UNDP.”
Chaudhary added that the government has not sought a separate channel from the bouquet of 32 direct-to-home channels launched by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD). However, preliminary discussions have been made by the Department of Justice with the Ministry of HRD to telecast their legal literacy short films, videos in one of the existing channels of Ministry of HRD currently dedicated to Law & Legal studies.
As the two-member bench comprising Justice Nagamuthu and Justice Anita Sumanth has recused itself from hearing the case, TRAI tariff order and interconnection regulation matter will now be heard by a new bench. The new Chief Justice of the Madras High Court and Justice Indira Bannerjee will decide the new bench to hear the matter. The bench recused itself from hearing the case as an anonymous petition to the Chief Justice claimed that Justice Nagamuthu had sought P Chidambaram’s help in becoming the judge.
Former finance minister P. Chidambaram on April 4 said that the Aircel-Maxis deal was approved by the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) and the transaction was done in 'normal course of business'. He was clearing the air over alleged irregularities in this deal.
On April 3, the CBI told the Supreme Court that it is investigating former Congress finance minister P Chidambaram for the clearance he gave to the Malaysian firm Maxis to buy 100 percent of Aircel. BJP leader Subramanian Swamy has said Chidambaram illegally granted Foreign Investment Promotion Board clearance to the Rs 3500-crore Aircel-Maxis deal 11 years back. He filed a petition in the apex court on the issue.
The Velim gram sabha of Goa has directed the Velim village panchayat to file a case against the officials of Reliance Jio for illegally erecting mobile towers in the village without the required permissions from the panchayat. The gram sabha claimed that the Jio’s proposal was placed during the panchayat body meeting held on March 15, but as there were no supporting documents such as their location plan and the clearance from the Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB), so the permission was not granted.
On March 24, Star India and Vijay put up their final arguments in the Madras High Court on the issue of tariff order and interconnection regulation issued by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). P Chidambaram, their counsel, said that TRAI’s action of fixing tariff for TV content was in violation of the Copyright Act. He also told the court that TRAI did not have the jurisdiction to fix tariff since the exploitation of IPR was part of the Copyright Act. He also stated that a subordinate legislation, i.e. the TRAI Act, could not override the principal legislation, i.e. the Copyright Act.
RCom, on September 14 last year, declared it will merge its wireless telecom business with Aircel to create India’s 4th-biggest mobile phone operator, with asset base of more than Rs 65,000 crore and net worth of Rs 35,000 crore. Now, Reliance Communications has got the approval of capital markets regulator Sebi and stock exchanges, BSE and NSE, for the proposed demerger of its wireless operations into Aircel Ltd.
As soon as the SC gave its nod to TRAI, the regulator took no time to notify its tariff order on 3rd March. But Star India and Vijay Television too reacted with same speed. They have amended their petition in the Madras High Court by adding a new prayer for setting aside the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) tariff order and interconnection regulation.
Shemaroo Entertainment filed a contempt petition against the Multi-System Operator (MSO) GTPL Hathway in The Bombay High Court for airing the movies; the same has admitted by the court. According to sources, Multi-System Operator (MSO) GTPL Hathway for aired movies without obtaining Entertainment’s films on its cable TV platform without permission until the final disposition of the petition. However, the content house alleged that the MSO was still showcasing its content on its network without licence for the same. Last year, the high court had passed an interim order directing GTPL Hathway not to screen Shemaroo permission empt is made out. It has issued notice to GTPL, which is returnable on Mar 31.
The MSOs have requested the Madras High Court for impleadment, but the Court has allowed them only to intervene in the TRAI draft tariff order and interconnection regulation case. Broadcasters Star India and Vijay TV had challenged the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) jurisdiction over commercial matters relating to copyright of content. The HC bench noted that, as the union government and TRAI are part of the matter, there is no need to implead others in the matter.
The Telecom Disputes Settlement & Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) directed Multi-System Operator (MSO) Ortel Communications to pay ` 2 crore immediately to broadcaster Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd. (ZEEL) for re-instatement of signals. MSO Ortel Comm had moved the TDSAT after ZEEL disconnected signals of its channels in the night intervening Feb 5 and 6. ZEEL had issued a disconnection notice dated 14th Feb asking Ortel to clear the outstanding of ` 6.71 crore. Ortel counsel Navin Chawla in his submissions stated that an amount of ` 25.37 lakh requires reconciliation. He also submitted that, after considering this amount, the MSO is willing to pay the balance amount of ` 6.45 crore in four tranches. The Ortel Comm had agreed to pay ` 2 crore immediately, followed by a payment of ` 50 lakh by the end of this month. Another ` 1.5 crore is to be paid by Mar 31. The remaining ` 2.45 crore is to be paid by a cheque dated Mar 30 to be encashed on 30th Apr. ZEEL will have to reconnect the signals of its channels along with those of Turner International and Zee Media following the payment.
In the case of Aircel-Maxis scam, a special court of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) dropped all charges against the former Telecom Minister D Maran and others. Maran brothers had been accused of helping Malaysian group Maxis to acquire Aircel in exchange for a kickback. The order was reserved on 16.11.16 whereas pronounced on 02.02.17.
The High Court of Judicature at Hyderabad has directed the Union Govt and the two State Govts of Andhra Pradesh (AP) and Telangana to file their replies to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition filed challenging the insistence on the cable TV subscribers to purchase set-top boxes (STB) to avail continued service and threatening cable TV operators that they should not carry on with the existing analogue form of transmission of television programmes from Jan 31, 2017.
The Madras High Court has adjourned the hearing in Star India and Vijay TV’s petition against the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) draft tariff order and interconnection regulation until 17th Feb 2017 as senior counsel P Chidambaram, was not present. TRAI had issued draft tariff order and interconnection regulation in Oct 2016. It had sought stakeholders’ comments on the recommendations to make the tariff order more robust.
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