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HC asks Centre, BARC to respond to plea seeking to establish BIS as national standards body

The Delhi High Court sought on Wednesday the response of the Centre, Bureau of Indian Standard (BIS) and Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) to a petition seeking to establish BIS as the national standards body for harmonious development of activities related to Television Audience Measurement Services.

A bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad issued notices to several ministries including Information and Broadcasting, Electronics and Information Technology, besides the BIS, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, BARC, Indian Broadcasting Foundation and News Broadcasters Federation.

The court asked the parties to file their replies to the petition and listed the matter for further hearing on April 28.

The Public Interest Litigation (PIL) sought strict compliance with and implementation of the BIS Act in terms of its preamble which reads: “an Act to provide for the establishment of a national standards body for the harmonious development of the activities of standardisation, conformity assessment and quality assurance of goods, articles, processes, systems and services and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto”, in respect of Television Audience Measurement Services.

The plea, filed by Veterans Forum for Transparency in Public Life, seeks to establish BIS as the National Standards Body of India.

It said due to non-implementation of provisions of the BIS Act, vital task of developing applicable standards for various processes and services in the field of education, health, including advertisements through digital media and television audience measurement services are being carried by array of private bodies, thus carrying out overriding activities of constitutionally mandated duties of BIS, leading to “chaos, convulsion and corruption affecting the public and viewers at large”.

The petition claimed an array of private bodies have devised their own “arbitrary, unscientific, untested and illegal standards which are devoid of peer review”. PTI

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