‘Telecom regulator competent to police broadcast services’


New Delhi : The Supreme Court Wednesday dismissed private broadcaster Star India’s petition questioning the power of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to regulate broadcasting services in the country.

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A bench of Justice H.K. Sema and Justice Markandey Katju dismissed the petition, saying there was “no conflict” in the law enacted by the parliament and the rules framed under the provisions of the act, which allows the telecom regulator to regulate broadcasting services.

Star India had approached the apex court challenging a Delhi High Court order, which had allowed the telecom regulator to also regulate broadcasting services as per the provisions of the act.

Star India, in its petition, had questioned the rules that empowered TRAI to regulate broadcasting services in India.

Appearing for Star India, senior counsel Fali S. Nariman contended the amendment brought in the Telecom Regulatory Act of 1997 was unconstitutional and the proviso introduced in the act was contrary to the original act.

“Telecom Act had excluded broadcasting services but after amendment, the services were allowed to be regulated by TRAI,” Nariman contended.

But the bench dismissed Nariman’s contention, saying: “There does not seem any conflict between the original act and the proviso introduced in it after amendment.”

The bench also expressed reservation in interfering with the provisions of the law made by parliament.

“We should not question parliament and we should respect parliament just as they respect us. Judiciary should not interfere with parliament,” the court said.