Plea against digital deadline

A petition challenging the deadline for digitisation of TV signals came up before a high court division bench on Wednesday but could not be heard in detail in the absence of lawyers of the state and the central governments.

The public interest litigation, moved by lawyer Rabishankar Chatterjee on November 21, pleads for an order against stopping analogue transmission till each home in Calcutta has a set-top box.

The division bench of Chief Justice A.K. Mishra and Justice Joymalya Bagchi directed the state and the Centre to express their stand on the issue in four weeks. The matter will be heard again after six weeks.

Legal experts feel the Centre is free to enforce the December 27 deadline for the digital switch as the bench has not yet issued a stay on it.

The Centre has threatened to act against city MSOs who miss the deadline and continue to beam analogue signals after December 27. At a recent meeting in Delhi, leading MSOs from the city were made to sign an undertaking to start switching off analogue signals in phases and complete the process by December 27 ' the third deadline for the city after June 30 and October 31.

"The Centre is pressuring us to switch off analogue signals and the state is threatening us not to do so. It will be interesting to know what the two sides have to say in the court," said a representative of a city MSO. The state government has assured the MSOs to request the Centre, as it did on the previous two occasions, to defer the deadline.

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