TDSAT disposes of petitions as Dish TV clears Star’s dues

MUMBAI: Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) has disposed of petitions as direct to home (DTH) operator Dish TV has cleared Star India’s dues. The petitions were disposed of with a direction to Dish TV to submit subscriber report from July onwards without any further delay.

Dish TV counsel submitted that the arrears for which the disconnection notice had been issued have been liquidated by payment of last installment by the end of November 2019.

However, the invoice for October 2019, could not be paid in full by 10.12.2019, as indicated in the last order since there was an added exercise to calculate the amount of incentives as per observations in the last order.

Therefore, the counsel stated that for the balance amount which was payable by 10.12.2019, a Post Dated Cheque bearing the date 20.12.2019 for an amount of Rs. 18.50 crore has been brought for giving it to the other side.

Star India has accepted the cheque on the assurance that it shall be honoured when presented in due time.

The tribunal noted that for all practical purposes the petition has become infructuous as the entire arrears indicated in the disconnection notice dated 3.7.2019 have been paid in installment permitted by the tribunal.

During the hearing, Star India counsel highlighted two issues. According to him, the Tax Deducted at Source (TDS) by the DTH operator for the period starting from April 2019 amounts to more than Rs. 26 crore and there is a statutory liability upon Dish TV to deposit that amount with the tax authorities.

The tribunal stated that the liability upon petitioner is under the law and “we expect that the petitioner shall meet that legal obligation by doing the needful”.

The other issue highlighted by Star counsel is that of alleged discrepancies in subscription reports from the month of July 2019 onwards. This issue has been raised in M.A. No. 241 2019 in BP No. 180 of 2019 filed on behalf of Star on 3.9.2019. Prayer (b) of that MA is to direct the DTH operator to submit subscriber reports in terms of the Interconnect Regulation of 2017.

On this aspect, the tribunal stated that this again is a liability under the regulations that must be satisfied by the DTH operator. “Hence, if the petitioner has not submitted the subscriber report in terms of the Interconnect Regulations of 2017, since July 2019 onwards, that should be done expeditiously without any further delay.”

With the aforesaid two issues raised on behalf of the respondent also having taken care of, both these petitions stand disposed of, TDSAT said in its order.

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