Digicable plea for placement fee from News Express allowed for analogue areas only: TDSAT

New Delhi: The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal has partially allowed a petition by MSO Digicable Network (India) Pvt. Ltd claiming analogue placement charges from Sai Prasad Media Pvt. Ltd which own the News Express Channel for a sum of Rs 63,03,058.

Chairman Aftab Alam and members Kuldip Singh and B B Srivastava said the amount will carry interest at 18 per cent from the date of filing of the petition till the date of realization. The office was directed to make a decree accordingly. The Tribunal turned down the petition in so far as it related to the areas that came under digital addressable system   

However, the Tribunal said, “We find it difficult to hold that the petitioner was able to fully discharge its obligations under the digital placement agreement dated 16 July 2012 for the areas of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, and Maharashtra. The Tribunal said that it is not possible to divide the amount of the placement charges from the invoices and the statement of account under the digital placement agreement and to allow the petitioner’s claim for the rest of the areas. It is, therefore, not possible to allow the petitioner’s claim under the digital placement agreement and the claim in so far it relates to the agreement dated 16 July 2012 must fail.

On the petitioner’s claim that the towns of UP were still to come under the digital addressable system regime and there could be no agreement for transmission of channel in those towns in digital mode, the Tribunal said” “There is no law that prevents digital transmission in areas where the digital regime is yet to be implemented in terms of the notification issued by the Central Government.”

Digicable had filed the petition for recovery of Rs 2,73,39,000 as dues of channel placement charges from Sai Prasad Media Pvt. Ltd for carrying its channel News Express on its digital as well as analogue cable TV networks. The amount was claimed along with interest at the rate of 18 per cent per annum from the date the payment was due up to the date of payment.

The claim of the petitioner was based on two channel placement agreements. The first one was in respect of areas where Digicable had a digital cable network. This agreement was executed on 16 July 2012 for the period 16 July 2012 to 15 July 2013. The second agreement was for certain areas where Digicable was doing transmission in analogue mode and was executed on 09 August 2012 for the period 9 August 2012 to 8 August 2013.

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