Cable Television Network (Regulation) Act, 1995
This Blog is written by Sidrah Jami from Amity Law School, Noida. Edited by Uroosa Naireen.
The cable television network is one of the most important topics that many countries have resolved through various talks. For a healthy democracy, it is essential that the institution of media is given due respect in spirit and law, that lays the basic foundation of democracy and that provides for an informed citizenry capable of making wise decisions, ultimately contributing to a well-functioned democracy. The cable network has taken a major position in not just India but also in the international level. The cable network has helped individuals living in different regions of the country to connect and reunite. It has played a major role in the lives of individuals. It has evolved throughout the years with the change in technology and resources. The cable television network has helped the viewers to view Indian programs as well as foreign programs with the help of foreign television networks via satellites. The cable television network has helped the citizens to get aware of the situations which are prevalent in India and in foreign countries. It has helped the cable broadcasting companies for broadcasting programs at an extensive level for the viewers. The programs which are mostly projected on the television are based on Western culture and are a little different from our culture. However, the cable network has helped individuals all across the world to get aware of what’s happening around them. 
SIGNIFICANCE OF THIS DEVELOPMENT
India is one of the developing countries in the world. The state was solely responsible and had full control over the broadcasting before the cable television network in India was introduced. The Indian Government was not prepared and was unaware of new networks that were coming up in the world. Therefore, the government was unable to put any type of check on the transmission and broadcasting of the television through foreign satellites. Till the late 1990’s India faced a lot of issues regarding the cable television network. Most of the population in India resides in rural areas. The broadcasting companies have always faced an issue in providing the programs through TV networks. Some of the challenges which were faced by the people residing in the rural areas were firstly, the issue of wiring. The was a major issue of wiring and poles in the rural areas which led to a loss of signals and weak cable connections in the houses. Secondly, the other issue was a frequent short circuit. Earlier there were no generators or inventors. This led to many short circuits in houses. Thirdly, the next issue was the location of the electric poles. As there was no proper location of electricity poles this led to a lot of power cuts in the villages. Fourthly, the issue is technology. Earlier people didn’t know about the new technology and invention. Fifth, is the lack of resources. There was a scarcity of resources which was an important challenge for the broadcasting company.
The Indian President promulgated an ordinance called the Cable Television Network (Regulation) Ordinance on 29 September 1994 for providing proper regulation of the cable networks in the country. The President again promulgated the ordinance on 17 January 1995.
The Indian Parliament passed The Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act in 1995 which focused on the proper regulation of cable television networks to all the areas existing in the country.
It provides a mechanism for proper registration of the cable operators. The Act gave power to the central government for appointing an authority which will look after the registration work and review the applications.
After the implementation of the Act, the challenges which were faced by the cable operators were solved. The Act helped the broadcasting companies to provide programs in rural as well as metropolitan areas. It has helped the villages in rural areas to get free channels. The Act has empowered the central government to order the cable operators to send certain information like the total number of subscribers, subscription rates, and a number of subscribes to free channels, etc. Earlier there was no proper license mechanism and regulation for the cable operators, this led to the existence of many cable operators, broadcasting programs all across the country. This Act helped in solving this issue by providing guidelines related to the efficient regulation of content and the proper operation of the cable networks. The Act has helped to facilitate the upgradation in the cable television network all across the country. The Act has helped in bringing out uniformity in the operation of all the cable networks in the nation. It has helped in the cable operation in India.
PROVISION IN THE LEGISLATURE
The Act was implemented by the Indian legislature in 1995. It is divided into five chapters. The first chapter focuses on the scope and extent of the act and the different types of words and meanings which are given under the Act. The second chapter focuses on the “Regulation of Cable Television Network”. The third chapter of the act deals with the “Seizure and Confiscation of the certain equipment”. The fourth chapter of the act deals with the “Offences and the Penalties”. And the last chapter emphasis the miscellaneous provisions. 
Section 2(g) of the Act has given immense power to the Central government to oblige the cable operator to transmit or retransmit a program of any pay channel through an addressable system by him in the interest of the public. The central government can oblige the cable operators to specify some free to air channels in the package for the viewers residing in the nation. The Central Government can also provide a maximum amount for the interest of the public which has to be charged by the cable operator for providing programs to the subscriber.
Section 4 of the Act laid down that it is necessary for all the cable network operators to be registered for the proper regulation of the cable television network in the country.
Section 5 of the Act lays down the procedure for the registration of the cable network operators. According to this section, an application of registration should be made under Form 1 with fee payment of Rs 50 to the head office within whose territorial jurisdiction the cable operator office is situated. The validity period of the registration certificate which is issued by the registering authority is 12 months. This certificate can also be renewed after the expiry of the time period. The registering authority also has the power to refuse the registration of the cable operator. However, the refusal by the registering authority should be given in writing and should be communicated to the applicant personally.
Section 5 and Section 6 deals with the advertisement code and the program code which has to be followed. All the services which are provided by the cable operators should be in uniformity with the code. Rule 6 and Rule 7 of The Cable Television Network Rules 1994 provides that the cable services which are provided by the cable operators should not be against the nation. they should not be against the integrity, morality, and sovereignty of the nation. It shouldn’t spoil the friendly relations with other foreign states. It shouldn’t defame any person or should be an illegal activity under the contempt of court. Rule 7(3) of The Cable Television Network Rules 1994 provides that the cable services which are provided by the cable operators should not use any type of political or religious object in its advertisements. The Advertising code also prohibits the use of tobacco, cigarette, wine, alcohol, or infant milk substitute. It also prohibits any type of advertisement which provides a derogatory or a bad image of the woman which can violate the constitutional laws in the country. Women cannot be portrayed as a weak vulnerable group in advertisements.
Section 7 of the Act deals with that every cable operator has the duty to maintain a register of the content whether it has been transmitted or retransmitted.
Section 9 of the Act lays down the use of standard equipment in the cable television network. It means that it is the responsibility of the cable operators to monitor and see that their cable television network does not get interfere with some other telecommunication system which is authorized by the registering authority.
Section 11 of the Act has given immense power to the authorized government authority to cancel and seize any cable operator’s equipment if they feel that the cable operator is using the equipment without any proper registration by the registering authority.
Section 16, 17, and Section 18 of the Act deals with the punishments of the offenses under this act. Section 16 lays down that if any person does some act which is in violation of any of the provision given under this act, then for the first offense, he shall be liable to a fine which can extend to Rs 1000 or imprisonment of a term which can extend to two years or both. If the individual has been charged with a subsequent offense, then he shall be liable to a fine which can extend to Rs 5000 or imprisonment which can extend till 5 years or both.
Section 19 of the Act lays down that if any act is committed by the company, then only the person who is in charge of the company will be held liable for the same.
Section 20 of the Act has provided power to the Central Government for prohibiting any type of cable television network which can be against the sovereignty and integrity of the nation or the security of the nation or can spoil any type of friendly relation of India with other country or against public decency, morality and order for the interest of the public.
The first case of a necessary licensing for the cable operators was discussed in the case of
Shiv Cable Television System v. State of Rajasthan . In this case, the district magistrate gave an order for a ban on cable networks that were operating without a license in the area. Later this order was appealed on the ground that it was a violation of Fundamental Rights to the Rajasthan High Court. The Rajasthan High Court held that there was no violation of the Fundamental Right given under Article 19 as the cable networks were covered under the definition of the “wireless telegraph apparatus” under the Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act. It also held that it was necessary for the cable operators to have a proper license for the operation of such a network. This led to the making of the framework of the Cable Television Network act 1995.
The Advertising Code has prohibited any type of political advertisement under the Cable Television Network Rules 1994. In the case of Secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and Gemini TV (Pvt) Ltd , the Supreme Court stayed an order and laid down guidelines on prohibiting the oppressive and slanderous surrogate advertisements during the elections. The court held that the Election Commission will only have the authority to the regulation of advertisements.
In the case of Jay Polychem v. Union of India , the Delhi High Court held that the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India will be allowed to handle problems and make changes that will be related to the conditional access system. The court held that the CAS should be stopped and should be re-introduced later when there will be proper regulation for the same. Under the case of Hathaway Cable Datacom v. Union of India , the court held that the previous judgment which was given under the case of Jay Polychem v. Union of India will be disregarded and that there will be a new introduction of the CAS with new guidelines for its working and implementation.
The Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act has helped in the proper regulation of the cable networks in the country. It has helped in efficient uniformity all across the nation. It has ensured that all the cable operators get registered for the proper operation of their networks. It has also provided with certain Advertising Code which ensures that the advertisements are not against the general public or the sovereignty and integrity of the nation. The Act has given the power to the government to transmit or re-transmit any type of program which can be against the public and to provide a maximum amount that has to be charged by the cable operator for the subscription. The Act also focuses on providing free air channels as a part of the package to all viewers. This Act has not only helped the cable operators but also the subscribers.
The Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act has helped the cable operators to operate their network without any issue. The Act has helped in a systematic way of operation of the network by the cable operators with a license. The Act has played a major role in changing technology in the country. It has helped in making people aware of programs and free channels that are provided by the cable operator. The Act has solved the issue of irregular expensive subscriptions and has given the authority to the government to make rules and to set amount for the subscription of channels. The Act has helped in overcoming the hurdle of cable operators.
 AIR 1993 Raj 197
 SLP (C) No. 6679 of 2004
 CWP Appeal Nos. 5697 of 2003 with 5698 of 2003 with 5494 of 2003 with 5676 of 2003
 WP (C) No. 14464-66 of 2004