Justice Chukwujekwe Aneke of a Lagos Federal High Court, has struck out a suit filed by some aggrieved subscribers challenging the recent 20 per cent increment on subscription rate of Digital Satellite Television, DStv, being operated by Multi-Choice Nigeria Limited.
The aggrieved subscribers, Osasuyi Adebayo and Oluyinka Oyeniji, who are lawyers, had filed the class action on behalf of themselves and all other DStv subscribers across the country.
The plaintiffs had sought an order of the court restraining Multi-Choice from implementing the 20 per cent increment on DStv subscription rate which began on April 1, 2015.
But Justice Aneke, in a ruling, upheld the preliminary objection filed by Multi-Choice, and ruled that the suit amounted to an abuse of court process.
The judge rejected an argument by the plaintiffs that Multi-Choice deserved not to be given right of audience having failed to abide by an earlier ex-parte order of the court restraining the company from implementing the increment.
Justice Aneke said the court was bound to entertain arguments from all parties before it, irrespective of the alleged violation of the court order.
The court further ruled that the suit disclosed no reasonable cause of action, as the plaintiffs were not under any obligation to continue to subscribe to the services of Multi-Choice in the face of the increment.
Justice Aneke simply said he was persuaded by a Supreme Court decision which stated that once an objection is raised challenging jurisdiction, the court was duty bound to first determine the objection before entertaining any other application.
But Multi-Choice, through its lawyer, Moyosore Onigbanjo argued that the plaintiffs had no cause of action, adding that a court did not have the power to regulate the price of services that a business was offering to its customers.
The company further contended that neither the government nor the court could regulate prices in Nigeria, being a country that operates a free market economy.