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Suit for early CAS rollout

With CAS effectively in cold storage following bouts of political ping-pong, a public interest litigation (PIL) has been filed in Calcutta High Court on Friday by Suprakash Ghosh, a viewer in Behala, seeking early rollout of the addressable system.

The PIL has flayed the state and Union governments for “failure to make it obligatory for cable operators to transmit or retransmit pay-channel programmes through an addressable system to areas specified in the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995”. Service providers RPG Netcom, SitiCable and Manthan have been made respondents.

The PIL argued that for “inaction and/or non-action on the part of the respondents to introduce CAS”, subscribers are forced to view even those channels they don’t wish to. Besides, they are “being deprived of the right” to view only free-to-air channels at a monthly rate of Rs 72 plus local taxes.

Appearing for the petitioner, Arunava Ghosh said the state has “no right to shelve a central Act”. Kalyan Banerjee, for the Union of India, countered that the petitioner had no jurisdiction in the matter and that the PIL was “framed by RPG Netcom and CTVN”. The PIL will come up for hearing after six weeks.

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