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TRAI to Have Supreme Authority Over Television Channels and Bouquet Prices – Supreme Court

When you pick up the TV remote after a long and tiring day, all you can think about is some mindless entertainment that will relax your body and mind. Have you ever thought how expensive this simple entertainment would be if TRAI was not playing the silent yet the stern role of controlling the prices of television channels and bouquets? Obviously not.

The Role of TRAI

As a consumer, you should be happy to know that the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India plays a key role in making television watching a cost-effective entertainment method for you. It decided the maximum price at which a channel can be offered as the part of a plan. It also ensures that free to air and pay channels are not offered in one bouquet. TRAI also sees to it that high definition format and ordinary format of the same channel is not offered in the same bouquet. Currently, the price of each channel can be up to INR 19 if it is offered as a part of a bouquet. Any channel that costs more needs to be sold individually.

These regulations by TRAI are important for a consumer as they protect a consumer from unethical practices of a service provider and ensures that their rights are protected. Unfortunately, many people don’t understand this and service providers make the most of this lack of information.

The Case

Recently, the service providers or broadcasters challenged TRAI's authority in these matters, and they argued that the regulations harmed the right of broadcasters to price and package the channels in any way they want.

TRAI’s representatives argued that TRAI’s powers are  essential to consumer interest and public interest is superior to the broadcaster’s rights to price and package the channels. The court agreed with TRAI's representatives and also stressed that the broadcasters are given ample freedom as they are allowed to fix the prices of its TV channels given that they are not discriminatory or they don't restrict consumers from choosing channels or bouquets.

The court also explained that TRAI's decision to cap the prices of channels that can be offered in a bouquet is correct because it protects consumer interests. If the prices of the channels were not regulated, the price of bouquets would rise exponentially, and it can lead to loss of an entertainment method for many people.

The court also stressed that TRAI is  working to ensure that large broadcasters do not force the consumers to subscribe to a specific bouquet of channels. The court also mentioned that if TRAI encroaches on the compensation owed for copyright as per the TRAI act, it will not be harmful as TRAI Act is superior to the Copyright Act because the former protects millions of people while the latter protects only the copyright rights of the broadcasters.

The Right Decision

Consumer Voice fully agrees with the decision taken by the court because it has once again proven that the public interest is far superior to the rights of a few businesses that are established only to earn and maximize their revenue.

 

Divya Patwal

VOICE

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