TDSAT directs Sat Guru Sai Cable to pay MSM Media

NEW DELHI: Sat Guru Sai Cable Network has been directed by the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal to pay a sum of Rs.5,36,173 to MSM Media Distribution Pvt. Ltd as subscription along with interest at the rate of 8 per cent from the date of the filing till final payment.

Although MSM Media Distribution had demanded Rs 10,30,435, Chairman Justice Aftab Alam and member B B Srivastava in their judgment of 2 June 2016 held that payment could only be made up to the date of the interconnect agreement even if the petitioner had continued to provide signals.

According to MSM Media Distribution, it entered into two separate agreements on 19 November 2014 whereby the MSO was authorized to retransmit signals of the channels of the broadcasters received from MSM Discovery or Multi-Screen Media to its subscribers and LCOs’ if applicable in the area of Muzaffarpur (Bihar}. The period of agreement is 1April 2014 to 31 December 2014 in both the cases. The monthly subscription fee for MSM channels was Rs 82,572 and for the TVT channels Rs.1,700 excluding applicable taxes. The subscription agreement, according to the petitioner's averments, also stipulated payments ofinterest at 18 percent per annum for any late payment of the subscription fee.

The distributor says that these channels were duly transmitted to the MSO which re-transmitted them to its consumers/subscribers and LCOs.

It has been stated by the distributor that prior to the conclusion of the agreement, the MSO was reminded several times to renew the agreement and to clear the arrears. The signals were continued on a request by the MSO even after the expiry of the agreement.

Thereafter, the distributor first issued notices and then public notices in local newspapers and failing to get any reply, deactivated the signals of TVT on 29 April 2015 and MSM channels on 11 May 2015.

No one appeared in TDSAT on behalf of the MSO despite notices and the case was heard ex parte.

The tribunal found there was no documentary evidence to support the averments about public notices in prominent newspapers, nor was there any document to suggest it had pleaded with the MSO to renew the agreement.

In view of that, the tribunal limited the payment to the period of agreement only, Rs 5,23,459 for supply of MSMsignals  and Rs. 12,714 for supply  of TVT signals  thus totalling Rs 5,36,173 only. 

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