Government is open to the proposal of creating separate dispute resolution mechanisms for broadcasting and telecom sectors, Union Minister Arun Jaitley said on Saturday.
Amid sector regulator TDSAT flooded with the cases, its chairperson Justice Aftab Alam said the number of broadcasting cases has far exceeded those related to telecom sector. He was speaking at a seminar on Telecom and Broadcasting theme – ART (Adjudication, Regulation, Telecommunication) of Convergence, TDSAT.Responding to the issue raised by Justice Alam, Jaitley, who holds the charge of Information and Broadcasting Ministry besides Finance Ministry, said the government was willing to look at the suggestion of having a separate mechanism to deal with broadcasting cases.
He asked the TDSAT to bring before the government an appropriate suggestion in this regard. “You have thrown a new challenge to the entire thought process and that challenge is even when Acts are framed with best of intentions, the ingenuity of lawyers, the unlimited jurisdiction of judges creates a situation of a divided authority.
“Parts of the same issue or some part of the same cause of action are pending before one authority, some parts would also be pending before courts,” said Jaitley. Stressing that TDSAT has by and large functioned well, he said the issues flagged by TDSAT chairman were a matter for consideration.
“I will certainly bring in to his (Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad) notice that it will require some element of reconsideration, what the alternate mechanism of dealing… particularly relating to broadcasting because you feel it (TDSAT) is flooded with broadcasting disputes,” he said.
Last year there were 707 cases filed before TDSAT. Of those 593 were related to broadcast sector and remaining 104 from telecom.
“…experience is if you…leave it to the jurisdiction of civil court than probably the issues can get indefinitely delayed and therefore what that alternate mechanism could be, has it to be some other mechanism under the (TRAI) Act etc which is to be created, I am sure the government would always be willing to look at it so that the time and energy of TDSAT is really spent on larger commercial issues and issues relating to how the technology…,” he said.
Later talking to reporters, Justice Alam said when the TRAI bill was brought in Parliament, simultaneously there was a broadcasting bill also. The broadcasting bill did not make into a law. “There are issues that need to be addressed… this (Broadcasting) is a very vibrant sector. Everyday new challenges are coming up, new issues are coming up, debates are going on. These issues will have to be addressed,” he added.