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TDSAT directs MIB to de-endorse SK TV from being uplinked via NSTPL’s teleport

MUMBAI: The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) has directed the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB) to de-endorse Sindhi Kachchhi Entertainment’s (SKE) SK TV from the list of channels permitted to be up-linked by Noida Software Technology Park Ltd (NSTPL) through its teleport via INSAT 4A satellite with immediate effect.

The tribunal has also allowed NSTPL’s petition which, besides seeking an appropriate direction to the MIB to de-endorse SK TV, had prayed for issuing directions to the ministry to dispose of applications seeking de-endorsement of TV channels in a time-bound manner.

NSTPL’s contention was that SKE defaulted on the payment schedule and despite repeated reminders, failed to clear the outstanding amount to the tune of Rs 31,66,395, whereupon NSTPL was constrained to terminate the said agreement.

Subsequently, the teleport operator sought de-endorsement of SK TV from the list of channels permitted to be uplinked by the petitioner company through its teleport.

On its failure to get the MIB’s permission for de-endorsement of SK TV, NSTPL filed a petition in January against SKE and subsequently impleaded the MIB.

In its reply to NSTPL, the ministry submitted that sometimes some teleports approach the ministry for de-endorsing a channel from their teleport before the expiry of their contract. In such cases, as a consistent practice, the ministry grants such permission after obtaining ‘no objection’ from the channel/broadcasting company concerned.

However, the present guidelines do not contain specific provisions in this regard and such a policy is currently being framed, the MIB had stated.

The tribunal, however, pointed out that the MIB had addressed a letter to SKE on 29 August 2013, asking it to clarify and explain, before no objection is issued to the petitioner, why it had failed to intimate the ministry about suspension of up-linking of its channel.

In reply, SKE stated that since NSTPL was not having transparent business dealing, it had under force majeure clause accepted suspension of its service and was in search of other teleport or DTH operator for transmission of its channel.

Based on this letter, the tribunal noted that SKE had not raised any objection to NSTPL regarding suspension of up-linking of its channel and it was on the lookout for an alternative.

The tribunal also stated that as per Clause 13.1 of the agreement, any dispute between the parties has to be sorted out on their own initiative.

In view of this clause as well as the letter of SKE, the tribunal said it did not see any reason why the MIB should withhold permission for de-endorsement of SKE’s channel to NSTPL.

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