As told to the High Court of Punjab & Haryana in Chandigarh, The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting is not going to press for implementation of DAS in Phase III cities till the High Courts decide on the pending cases.
The submission to this effect was made by Union of India counsel Vivek Singla on a petition by a Punjab cable operator named Parbodh Rattan, who was seeking a stay on DAS Phase III implementation in Haryana due to shortage of STBs.
“Counsel for respondent No. 1 has submitted that earlier it was analogue telecast system which has been replaced by digital addressable system in which it is mandatory to have set-top box (STB), but the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India, has decided not to press the requirement of having an STB as for now till the decision of the cases which are pending before various other Hon’ble High Courts,” the HC order read.
In view of the stand taken by the ministry, the HC felt that there is no need for an interim order and dismissed the petition as infructuous.
Although the MIB in its communication to the Assistant Solicitor General of India Punjab and Haryana High Court Chetan Mittal had asked to defend the case, it changed its mind after taking a legal opinion on the Bombay High Court’s Order dated 11 January 2016 that granted stay to the Nashik Zilla Cable Operator Association based on the stay granted by the High Court of AP & Telangana stating a Supreme Court judgement which said that a stay granted by a High Court on a government Notification is applicable all over the country.
The HC order was passed on an application seeking a stay on DAS Phase III in Maharashtra due to pending issues like interconnection agreement between MSOs and local cable operators (LCOs).
“Since the Andhra Pradesh High Court and Sikkim High Court have passed an order of status quo in view of the observations made by the apex court in the case Kusum Ingots & Alloys Ltd vs Union of India [(2004) 6 Supreme Court Cases 254] and, more particularly, paragraph 22 of the said order, the question of grant of interim order does not arise in this case. Stand over to 1st February 2016,” the Bombay HC had stated.
So far the Union of India counsels in other HCs have been opposing DAS Phase III extension on the grounds that adequate time was granted to the MSOs and the LCOs to seed STBs.
Currently, DAS Phase III has been stayed by the High Court of Judicature at Hyderabad, Bombay High Court, Sikkim High Court, Odisha High Court, and High Court of Chhattisgarh. In Karnataka and Kerala, the HCs have granted relief to individual cable operators rather than staying the implementation across the state. In most cases, the stay has been granted due to STB shortage in the market. Chief Minister of Uttrakhand and Andhra Pradesh have also wirtten a letter to the I&B Minister to extend Phase III by 6 months. In Guwahati the DM has allowed analogue signals on the request of the Greater Guwahati Cable TV Operator Association and in Tamil Nadu too, ARASU Cable has been allowed analogue signals by the High Court till their case for being registered by MIB is settled.