Kal Cables moves TDSAT against ZEEL disconnection notice, secures interim relief

MUMBAI: Multi system operator (MSO) Kal Cables has moved Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) against disconnection notice by broadcaster ZEEL.

The tribunal has directed ZEEL not to give effect to its disconnection notice in the light of submissions made by Kal Cables counsel that the MSO is willing to clear the outstanding dues.

While admitting the petition, the tribunal granted two weeks’ time for filing a reply. Time for filing rejoinder will be considered on the next date. The matter is listed ‘for Directions’ on 30th March.

The tribunal noted that the broadcaster has already held an audit of MSO’s system in the month of November 2019 and relying on that report, in the impugned notice of disconnection a categorical stand has been taken that system is non-complaint with schedule-3 of the Regulations.

ZEEL has also alleged that Kal has indulged in the supply of unencrypted signals to a large number of subscribers and on that basis in addition to the invoices raised in regular course up to the month of January 2020 another debit note has been raised for an amount of Rs. 1,00,84,865/-. ZEEL has alleged that no relief should be granted to the MSO because it has indulged in wrong practices.

On the other hand, Kal counsel has taken a firm stand that it has also subsequently got its system audited and the audit report dated 10.03.2020 is now available on record.

According to him, that report does not support the conclusions which the broadcaster is showing on the basis of the earlier audit report. It has further been submitted that so far as regular invoices till January 2020 are concerned, the MSO has been making regular payments.

In support of this plea, the MSO stated that a cheque for Rs. 1,27,75,242/- has been sent to the broadcaster towards subscription for the month of January 2020, although the billed amount appears to be Rs. 1,29,95,505/-.

Kal counsel has offered to make good any outstanding dues on the basis of usual invoices till January 2020 within a week if an intimation towards such outstanding is given by the respondent.

“In view of such an undertaking, the respondent is directed not to give effect to the impugned notice of disconnection dated 19.02.2020 till the next date. This is subject to payment of regular invoices and also payment of earlier outstanding dues till January 2020, if any, within one week as undertaken by the petitioner,” TDSAT said in its order,

It also stated that the amount of Rs. 1,00,84,865/- shall not be payable by the MSO until further orders which shall be passed after completion of pleadings and on hearing the parties further on the interim relief.

The tribunal also stated that if the latest audit report contained is not complete, the MSO must supply the entire repot along with annexures to the other side within a week, if not already supplied.

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