Sony reconnects signals to Seven Star following interim arrangement by TDSAT

MUMBAI: Sony Pictures Networks India (SPNI) has re-connected the signals to multi system operator (MSO) Seven Star following a direction by Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT).

The tribunal’s interim protection to Seven Star will continue till the next date of hearing, which is 13 November.

Passing an interim order, the tribunal directed the broadcaster to grant reconnection to the MSO forthwith and not later than 24 hours on the terms indicated above.

Following the order, the broadcaster re-connected the signals to the MSO. “The signals have restored and the negotiations are on to renew the deal,” a source in SPNI said.

Seven Star director Shamim Shaikh refused to comment on the matter stating that it is a matter between two private companies.

Seven Star counsel Diggaj Pathak had submitted that signals to the MSO have been disconnected by the broadcaster on 1 November on the ground that the earlier agreement has come to an end on 31 October without having any regard to the order dated 23 August passed in the present petition.

Pathak contended that the broadcaster must have been taken leave of the Court to effect disconnection or granted some reasonable time to the MSO with the negotiations for fresh agreement either on the basis of negotiations or RIO, for which MSO had made a prayer.

He also pointed out that in fact broadcaster had filed an application in this petition seeking permission of the tribunal for effecting disconnection of signals but the same was withdrawn without pressing for that relief.

SPNI counsel Payal Kakra submitted that the petition does not relate to any dispute over the extension of agreement and hence after the expiry of the agreement respondent was not required to issue any notice for disconnection.

She further that the MSO itself gave a notice on the ground of expiry of the earlier agreement and did not approach the broadcaster for any negotiations for a fresh agreement.

Kakra further submitted that there are allegations of piracy for which a complaint has been lodged and any interim prayer at this stage may adversely affect such proceeding initiated by the respondent.

The tribunal granted an interim protection to the MSO till the next date by directing the broadcaster to restore the supply of signals forthwith treating the earlier agreement to be in existence till further orders.

It also clarified that the interim protection is without prejudice to the stand of the broadcaster and to any proceeding which they may have initiated against the MSO.

Since the interim protection was granted to the petitioner, Kakra prayed for a very short time to file a reply. The tribunal granted time until 7 November to file a reply to the application. Rejoinder, if any, may be filed by 10 November.

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