New Delhi, December 8: On Wednesday, December 7, marked the day when we can officially announce an affirmative date on which DAS Phase III will be implemented. It has been an uphill battle for the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) and for our members at the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF). While originally, the date for implementation of DAS III was slated as 30th September 2014, it was extended to 31st December 2015 by a notification issued by MIB.

The statement issued by MIB said, “The IBF, MIB, our members, MSOs and various other stakeholders worked very hard to prepare the ground for the eventual sunset of analogue in the largest part of the Country to date. It was challenging, with initial hiccups in the form of unavailability of Set Top Boxes, pending applications for MSO registrations.”

“When we thought the worst was behind us, we were hit by a flurry of litigations, all filed within a space of 15 days beginning with 30th December 2015 in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Stays were obtained on implementation for periods of up to 2 months. Soon the fire spread to 18 other High Courts with over 50 petitions being filed”, said IBF Secretary General, Mr Girish Srivastava.

IBF, supported by its members and external legal experts, worked hard in transferring all matters to the Delhi High Court as per the Order passed on 1st April 2016. Then, IBF lawyers set about the task of getting the registries of each of the High Courts to transfer the matters to the Delhi High Court. The first 4 in the batch of matters came up in May and the rest were listed in August 2016, on account of intervening vacations.

Between the first date of listing and the final disposal of all these matters before 2 different courts – Single Judge and Division Bench – it took all of 3 months – a record by any standard for which the IBF and entire broadcast fraternity are overwhelmingly obliged and thank the Delhi High Court.

Commenting on the development, the IBF President, Mr Punit Goenka said – “We welcome all stakeholders into the dawn of a new era and hope that the digitisation bandwagon continues unabated in Phase IV as well, which is to be implemented from 1st January 2017.”