TDSAT directs Dish TV to clear Star India’s dues in three equal installments by Nov-end

MUMBAI: Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribuna (TDSAT) has directed DTH operator Dish TV to pay admitted dues to Star India in three equal installments by end of November.

“Having considered the earlier order and the stand of the parties, we are of the view that in addition to the liability to clear the current invoice as indicated above, petitioner should liquidate the entire arrears to the extent admitted and already noted by end of November 2019 and for this petitioner shall pay the remaining outstanding dues towards the arrears in three equal instalments by end of September, October and November 2019,” TDSAT said in its order.

The tribunal stated that Star will not give effect to the disconnection notice till the next date if Dish TV makes such payments within the time indicated above. The matter has been posted for hearing under the same head on 11th October.

It also made it clear that presently the orders are being passed only to take care of the admitted dues and no decision has been taken on the quantum of dues ultimately payable or the interst payable against such dues.

Learned senior counsel for Dish TV submitted on instructions that the current dues against invoices for the month of July shall be cleared by 10th September 2019. He has undertaken that Rs. 40 crore shall be paid by the DTH operator by the end of September 2019 and as per this plea, an amount of Rs. 56.65 crore approximately would be balance towards arrears after 31st October.

Dish TV submitted a chart to show payment details actually made to Star till 3rd September 2019 and also details of the payments proposed to be made till 31st October 2019.

It has been shown that the current dues for the month of June have been paid before 10th August which was the date for payment indicated in the order passed on 29th July. It has further been shown that towards arrears, the amount indicated in that order Rs. 65 crore has also been paid by 30th August.

Learned senior counsel for Dish TV has pleaded that following the earlier manner of paying the current dues, the DTH operator may be permitted to clear the dues for the month of July by 10th September so that the payment cycle is maintained for the time being.

This has been resisted by learned senior counsel for Star by referring to the provisions in the Regulations 2017. According to him, since there was a delay in submitting the subscriber reports, the provisional invoice was raised in terms of the regulations and that became payable on 27th August within 15 days of receipt of the invoice by the DTH operator.

Hence, according to him, the DTH operator has defaulted in paying the current dues for the month of July 2019 within the time as stipulated in the regulations.

The tribunal noted that since the prime concern at present is to ensure that the arrears payable by the DTH operator were liquidated within undue delay, it will take up the issue of paying the current invoice within the time permitted by regulations after the arrears are liquidated.

“For the time being, petitioner is permitted to follow the earlier practice only for a limited period as indicated above. Hence, he must pay the current invoices in similar fashion by 10th of each succeeding month,” it added.

In the previous hearing, Star India had supplied a chart supplied to the TDSAT explaining Dish TV’s liabilities. Against a liability of Rs. 554 crore (approximately), Dish TV has paid Rs. 553 crore (approximately) leaving a balance outstanding of Rs. 83,70,895 on 22nd July in respect of billing till January 2019.

The tribunal had noted that for the month of February to May 2019, the DTH operator has been billed for a further amount of Rs. 284 crore (approx.) which includes the balance outstanding of Rs. 83,70,895. Star India had contended that it has not included the interest component.

Dish TV had stated that it shall pay Rs. 55 crore by or before 31st July and shall also pay Rs 100 crore in the month of August 2019 and the same amount of Rs. 100 crore in the month of September 2019.

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