TDSAT directs Star India to restore signal supply to Raj Cable Network on payment of dues
MUMBAI: The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) has asked broadcaster Star India restore signal supply to multi system operator (MSO) Raj Cable Network if the latter makes a payment of Rs. 3,20,651.
The MSO is aggrieved by the impugned notice for disconnection dated 17th May wherein it has been clearly mentioned that as per records of the broadcaster, there is an outstanding of Rs. 3,20,651 for the period up to 31st March. It has been further alleged in the notice that the MSO has defaulted in the submission of subscriber reports for the month of April 2019.
Learned counsel for the MSO has referred to averments in the petition to support the claim of the petitioner that subscriber reports for the months of April and May 2019 have already been submitted through e-mails dated 20th May and 7th June respectively.
So far as the arrears are concerned, his submission is that an amount of Rs. 1,40,000 was paid by MSO on 30th April before the issuance of the impugned notice. Another amount of Rs. 1,40,000 is said to have been paid by the petitioner on 31st May and that payment appears to have been acknowledged by the broadcaster in their subsequent invoice for the month of May 2019.
Since the broadcaster has already effected disconnection of supply of signals for non-payment of the amount shown outstanding in the notice of 12th June, the MSO wants the interim order for restoration of supply of signals on appropriate terms and conditions.
Learned counsel for the MSO has submitted that there may be some minor issues with the accounts needing reconciliation and also for verification of petitioner’s claim that it is entitled to certain incentives under the agreement for the periods up to date of disconnection.
He has further offered on behalf of the MSO to immediately make the deposit of the entire amount of Rs. 3,20,651 as given in the impugned notice for getting the supply of signals restored urgently.
Learned counsel for the broadcaster has made submissions to rebut the disputes raised in respect of the accounts and has further submitted that MSO is not entitled to the incentives claimed before this tribunal and he has not even made any communication to the broadcaster that it is so entitled.
Learned counsel has further sought liberty in favour of the respondent that for subsequent delay and default in payment of invoice for the period after the impugned notice the broadcaster may be left free to take action in accordance with the law not only for the delay but also for some other illegalities which are being enquired or investigated.
“Having heard the learned counsel for the parties, we are of the considered view that if the petitioner makes the payment of Rs. 3,20,651.00 mentioned in the impugned notice, the supply of signals should be restored by the respondent in favour of the petitioner without any delay and preferably within 24 hours of such payment,” the tribunal said in its order.
The tribunal further stated that the MSO will be given a liberty to reconcile the accounts within 10 days from 24th June. For this, the MSO will be at liberty to approach the concerned office of the broadcaster.
It also noted that if the MSO has any rights to claim incentives under the agreement, such claims should also be forwarded within 3 days from today so that the same is also taken into account for the purposes of reconciliation of accounts within the time of 10 days indicated above.
“The petitioner must make all efforts to pay the subsequent dues found payable after the reconciliation within the time permitted under the agreement and if there is any default, the respondent will be at liberty to issue notice and take action in accordance with the law,” the order reads.
“The respondent will also be at liberty to take action in accordance with law if it is satisfied that the petitioner has committed some other illegalities which entitle the respondent to take action against the petitioner. It goes without saying that this order is without prejudice to the rights of both parties. If the matter is not settled on the basis of accounts and payments by the next date, the respondent will be at liberty to file a reply/short reply.”
The matter has been posted under the same head on 12th July. The interim order shall be further considered on that date.