Tdsat asks Incablenet to pay Zee Turner Rs 2 million

NEW DELHI: The Telecom Disputes Settlement Appellate Tribunal (Tdsat) has given its final orders on the case of Zee Turner disconnecting Zee Sports channel from multi-system operator (MSO) Incablenet.

While saying that the disconnection was illegal, the Tdsat has asked Incablenet to pay Zee a sum of Rs two million.

It observed that the original agreement between Zee and Incablenet was to run the channel free of cost, and for a carriage fee accruable to Incablenet for running on a specific frequency, for three months.


Though that formal written agreement lapsed after December 2005, Incablenet still ran the channel on an oral arrangement and request from Zee, as a promotional measure for the channel, as an FTA.

Meanwhile, Zee Sports turned into a pay channel with a price declared with Trai at Rs 10 per subscriber. Zee Turner decided to disconnect it from Incablenet countrywide on 8 September 2006, on the eve of the Malaysian cricket tri-series.

Incablenet had then appealed to Tdsat against Zee‘s alleged illegal disconnection and the court had in the interim asked Zee to reconnect, but also asked Incablenet to deposit Rs two million with it till the parties reached an agreement.

In passing the final order on 3 July, the court made an important observation:

"Since this re-connection of Zee Sports was ordered by us and the petitioner enjoyed the signals, we feel that some consideration is due to the respondent.

"It is also a fact that after watching the Malaysian Triangular Series, the petitioner has disconnected the Zee Sports channel voluntarily.

"It goes to prove that it was interested in the channel during the Malaysian Triangular Series, when it was a pay channel and therefore the petitioner is under obligation to pay for that period to the respondent at the rate of Rs 10 per subscriber which is the rate declared by the respondent with the Trai.

"We would like to deal with an argument on behalf of the petitioner (Incable) that if at this stage the petitioner is asked to compensate the respondent, it will not be able to recover the amount from the subscribers.

"In this behalf we would only like to say that the petitioner had approached this Tribunal seeking interim order for continued supply of signals.

"We passed a conditional interim order requiring the petitioner to deposit Rs two million in this Tribunal before the supply of signals could be restored to the petitioner (and) the petitioner complied with the said order, which led to the supply of signals being restored to it.

"If the petitioner was not happy with the condition under the interim order of this Tribunal, it need not have complied with the order.

"Obviously the petitioner complied with the order because it saw some benefit under the order.

Having reaped the benefit of the order it does not lie in the mouth of the petitioner to raise an argument that it will not be able to recover the amount from the subscribers.

"Therefore, we see no merit in this argument," the court concluded, asking Incablenet to pay the sum forthwith.

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