TDSAT orders Star not to cut feed to Delhi cable op

NEW DELHI: The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) has directed Star India not to switch off its channel feed to Panchsheel Communication Network Pvt. Ltd., a cable network in Delhi.

While directing Star India to file a reply by 4 April, TDSAT told M/s. Panchsheel Communication, the petitioner, to pay the monthly subscription for March 2004 on the same basis as was being paid till February 2004, which would translate to as per existing connectivity.

The matter would be taken up by the tribunal again on 7 April when it will hear similar complaints filed by few other networks.

Panchsheel Communication Network, operating moved TDSAT under Section 14 and 14A of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997, against Star India Pvt. Ltd. on the ground that the latter's action seeking 58 per cent increase in connectivity (subscriber base), with effect from March 2004, would amount to about 42 per cent increased outflow of subscription money.

Panchsheel Communication Network Pvt. Ltd., represented by Maninder & Pratibha Singh, argued before the Bench, comprising TDSAT chairman Justice Wadhwa and Vinod Vaish, that the proposed action of Star India. is without any basis and is unjust, arbitrary and illegal. The tribunal was also told that the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, though an order dated 15 January, had frozen the cable charges as prevalent on 26 December, 2003.

Star India counsel, Gopal Jain, opposed the petition and sought time from TDSAT to file reply.

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