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SC upholds TDSAT order directing ETV and MAA TV to provide signals to JAINHITS

MUMBAI: Upholding an earlier order of the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT), the Supreme Court has asked ETV Network and MAA TV Network to provide signals of their channels to Noida Software Technology Park Ltd’s (NSTPL) headend-in-the-sky (HITS) service JAINHITS.

The apex court has directed ETV and MAA TV to provide signals within two days in the interim, on pan-India basis to JAINHITS. The two broadcasters had moved the apex court, challenging the tribunal’s 14 March 2014 order whereby it had directed ETV and MAA TV to provide signals to JAINHITS.

jainhits-logo1As a result of this interim order passed in favour of NSTPL, JAINHITS subscribers would now be able to enjoy ETV and MAA TV offerings. Currently, JAINHITS offers up to 250 channels including all major pay TV channels and will soon provide full-HD and multi-screen services.

“NSTPL has been trying to get signals for JAINHITS from various broadcasters for the past two years but have been denied the same on various grounds. It was only in October last year that the broadcasters started providing signals, after orders were passed by the tribunal. However, ETV and MAA TV were still reluctant to provide signals, which necessitated NSTPL approaching the TDSAT,” informed JAINHITS counsel Vivek Chib.

According to the tribunal’s 14 March order, the bench of Justices Aftab Alam and Kuldip Singh had held that ETV and MAA TV could not refuse granting signals to JAINHITS on the grounds that certain defaulting local cable operators (LCOs) or multi-system operators (MSOs) might approach NSTPL for signals.

The tribunal held that ETV and MAA TV had not furnished the name of a single MSO or LCO that might have been held to be its defaulter by a court or competent authority and to whom the HITS operator might supply the signals.

“Undeniably, the petitioner itself was not in any default in payments to the respondent for the simple reason that they were not in any business relationship earlier. Thus, looked at from any angle, the prohibition of the provision to regulation 3.2 of the Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable Services) Interconnection Regulations, 2004 was not applicable to this case,” the tribunal had ruled.

The tribunal had last year directed content aggregators Sun Distribution Services (SDS), ESPN Software India (ESI) and Multi Screen Media Discovery (MSMD) to provide signals of their channels to JAINHITS.