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TDSAT adjourns DTH licence fee case till 8 July

MUMBAI: The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) has adjourned the direct-to-home (DTH) licence fee case till 8 July as it is busy handling other matters.

As directed by the tribunal in its previous hearing, the government has filed its reply to petitions filed by Tata Sky, Bharti Telemedia (Airtel Digital TV) and Sun Direct. The DTH operators now have a week’s time to file their rejoinders.

In the previous hearing on 6 May, the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB) had filed its replies to petitions filed by Dish TV, Bharat Business Channel (Videocon d2h) and Reliance Digital TV.

In its reply, the government argued that the DTH operators must not get relief since the Supreme Court had settled the argument based on the definition of adjusted gross revenue (AGR).

The government also contended that the TDSAT cannot adjudicate whether or not licence fee must be paid on the basis of AGR.

The DTH operators have been maintaining that the government should not have raised the licence fee demand since the matter is pending in the Supreme Court.

The MIB will not press for its 24 March licence fee demand of Rs 2,066 crore (Rs 20.66 billion) based on AGR. It had raised the licence fee demand based on Clause 3.1.1 of DTH licence.

Irked by the MIB’s licence fee demand, the six DTH operators challenged the matter in the TDSAT on the ground that the matter is sub judice as the case is pending in the Supreme Court.

It must be noted that Tata Sky, one of the petitioners in the case, had recently paid Rs 383 crore (Rs 3.83 billion) as licence fee to the government even though the matter is sub judice.

Also read:

Interim relief to continue as TDSAT adjourns DTH licence fee case till 22 May
Tata Sky pays Rs 383 crore to MIB as licence fee
Interim relief for all six DTH ops in licence fee case; TDSAT to hear the matter on 6 May
Govt asks DTH operators to cough up Rs 20.7 bn as licence fee dues