New Delhi:The Supreme Court today refused to interfere with telecom regulator TRAI’s authority to also regulate broadcasting services, saying there was “no conflict” in letting it do both jobs.
Dismissing private broadcaster Star India’s petition challenging the role of TRAI, which was set up by an Act of Parliament, a bench comprising Justices H K Sema and Markandey Katju said: “We cannot question Parliament and we should respect Parliament. Judiciary should not interfere in it.”
The broadcaster had approached the apex court against the amendment to the Telecom Act that empowered the government to bring broadcasting services within the ambit of TRAI.
The court, however, said there was “no conflict” in allowing Telecom Regulatory Authority of India to regulate broadcasting services as well.
Star’s counsel Fali S Nariman contended that the amendment to the Telecom Act was unconstitutional and the proviso introduced in the Act was contrary to what was envisaged in the original Act.
“Telecom Act had excluded broadcasting services, but after amendment the services were allowed to be regulated by TRAI,” Nariman said, adding that “the amendment amounts to re-writing the Act.”
Not satisfied with Star India’s contention, the bench said: “There does not seem any conflict between the original Act and the proviso introduced in it after amendment.”
“The proviso says that the Centre can bring other services within the ambit of Telecom Act and the government has issued the notification for regulating broadcasting services by TRAI. It is very simple,” the Bench observed.