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TDSAT to hear DTH licence fee case on 25 Feb

MUMBAI: The Telecom Disputes Settlement & Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) will hear the direct-to-home (DTH) licence fee case on 25 February.

Dish TV counsel Madhvi Dewan and Videocon d2h counsel Sandeep Ladda have submitted that the tribunal should further adjourn hearing of these matters owing to some connected matters pending before different high courts.

The tribunal said that it might consider the objections, if any, once it started hearing the matter and put it up for hearing on 25 February.

The DTH operators have filed appeals in various HCs to secure interim relief from payment of annual licence fee on the basis of 10% of gross revenue. In November 2015, Dish TV and Sun Direct had secured interim relief from the Jammu & Kashmir and Kerala High Courts on the licence fee issue.

The DTH operators had moved the TDSAT in 2014 after the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB) had sent notices directing them to pay licence fee totalling Rs 2,066 crore (Rs 20.66 billion). The TDSAT had directed the MIB not to take coercive action until the matter remained pending.

The DTH operators had challenged the licence fee demand on the ground that the matter was pending before the Supreme Court.

In February 2015, the tribunal had said that it would hear the DTH licence fee case only after the matter was decided by the apex court where it had been pending for a long time.

The hearing in the case resumed once the SC disposed of the appeals filed by Tata Sky and the Union government on 27 August.

Presently, DTH operators are required to pay 10% of gross revenue (GR) as licence fee to the government. The operators contend that the licence fee should be paid only on subscription revenue.

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