TDSAT directs BECIL to conduct audit of Tata Sky’s system following SPNI’s plea

MUMBAI: The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) has directed Broadcast Engineering Consultants India Ltd (BECIL) to conduct an audit of direct to home (DTH) operator Tata Sky following a request by broadcaster Sony Pictures Networks India (SPNI).

The tribunal has asked BECIL to complete the technical and commercial audit of Tata Sky’s head-end, conditional access system (CAS), subscriber management system (SMS) and all other technical system and equipment within two weeks.

“At the present stage, we are inclined to order that BECIL should hold a technical and commercial audit of the system of respondent no. 1 qua the petitioner’s channels at an early date preferably within two weeks keeping in view the purpose of audit, which may be explained by the petitioner so that BECIL may hold the audit in accordance with requirement of regulation keeping the concern of the petitioner in view,” TDSAT said in its order.

It has also permitted SPNI and Tata Sky representatives to assist the audit team. Tata Sky has assured the tribunal of cooperating in the matter. The cost of the audit will be made by the broadcaster.

BECIL has been directed to share the report of the audit with the parties as soon as the report is available. The matter has been posted under the same head on 19 December.

SPNI had filed an application before the tribunal stating that it be allowed to conduct a technical and commercial audit of Tata Sky’s technical system and equipment. It also stated that such an audit be held at an early date preferably from 21 November.

Along with the application, SPNI had annexed documents to show that the DTH operator has taken a stand against holding an audit on the ground, which is not tenable in the light of relevant regulations as well as RIO agreement executed between the parties on 29 September, which is effective from 1 October.

SPNI also contended that the DTH operator had conceded the right to hold an audit in favour of broadcaster Taj Television, which is now owned by the broadcaster.

In reply, Tata Sky counsel submitted that a perusal of the DTH operator’s reply would show that it is not opposed to the holding of an audit by an independent auditor but it is opposed to broadcaster having unhindered access to many other information and data relating to products of other broadcasters.

The tribunal stated that an audit by an independent auditor, such as BECIL may be directed to find out whether the DTH operator’s system is in compliance with the requirements of the regulations.

Tata Sky has objected to some clauses in the agreement on the ground that they will encroach upon its rights to keep certain information confidential particularly those related to the channels of other broadcasters.