Regulators

TDSAT directs 3 LCOs to clear Media Pro’s dues

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NEW DELHI: Media Pro Enterprise India Pvt. Ltd., Mumbai has secured orders from the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) for recovering payments from three different cable operators namely Madhumati Cable Network, Shiv Cable Network, and Mauli Cable Network of Maharashtra.

 

In separate judgments, TDSAT chairman Justice Aftab Alam and member Kuldip Singh directed Media Pro to file a computation of accounts up to 31 March, 2013 within two weeks in the cases of Madhumati Cable Network and Shiv Cable Network for a decree to be dawn up accordingly. The decretal amount will also carry interest at 10 per cent per annum from the date of filing of the petition till the actual payment.

 

In the case of Mauli Cable Network, the petition was allowed to the extent of the claims of Rs 10,94,481.16. The amount will also carry interest at 10 per cent from the date of filing of the petition till the date of actual payment. The office is directed to make a decree accordingly.

 

 The petition against Madhumati is for recovery of the sum of Rs 8,03,125 along with interest at 18 per cent per annum from the petitioner as dues of subscription fee. Media Pro had executed an interconnect agreement with Madhumati on 20 June, 2012 for supply of its signals to the respondent for retransmission from 1 April, 2012 till 31 March, 2013. In terms of the agreement, the LCO was required to pay Rs 99,000.66 to Media Pro as the monthly subscription fee.

 

Media Pro alleged that the LCO defaulted in payments and as a result the dues of subscription fee accumulated to Rs 8,03,125. The LCO did not appear despite service of notice.

 

In the case against Shiv Cable Network, Media Pro claimed for recovery of the sum of Rs 6,28,658 along with interest at 18 per cent per annum as dues of subscription fee. According to Media Pro, the LCO executed an interconnect agreement with it on 1 January, 2012 for supply of its signals for retransmission. The agreement commenced from the date of execution and came to end on 31 March, 2013. In terms of the agreement, the respondent was required to pay Rs 99,778.31 to Media Pro as the monthly subscription fee.

 

The Tribunal, which also examined witnesses in the latter cases, said there is no reason not to accept the claim of Media Pro for the term of the agreements.

 

The claim of Media Pro, however, extended to 18 October, 2013 as it is claimed that it continued to supply signals to the LCOs till that date. But the Tribunal rejected this claim in the absence of any renewal agreement.

 

Both Madhumati and Shiv Cable did not appear despite service of notice and hence, the petition proceeded ex parte.

 

While allowing the claims of Mauli Cable Network on the basis of the Interconnect agreement, TDSAT rejected the claims made by Media Pro in respect of Zee Turner, which the Tribunal said “appears to be on a different footing. The petition filed on behalf of Media Pro is very sketchy and in so far as the alleged dues of Zee Turner are concerned.” The Zee Turner claim is for Rs 7,71,802.04 on the basis of an undisclosed agreement between the LCO and Zee Turner.

 

No agreement between Zee Turner and the LCO (or for that matter for supply of signals of Zee Turner prior to 1 December, 2011), which alone can form the basis for the claim for the arrears has been produced before the Tribunal. Five invoices are produced of which the first one is dated 15 December, 2011, that is, shortly after the execution of the agreement on 8 December, 2011. It shows the payment due date as 22 December, 2011 and shows previous period outstanding as nil. Though, apart from the statement of account of Media Pro, a statement of account of Zee Turner has been filed along with the petition, it is of no help in the absence of any agreement between Zee Turner and the respondent. Moreover, the witness examined in the case identified and proved only the Media Pro statement of account and not the Zee Turner statement of account.

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