Regulators

TDSAT directs Taj TV to not disconnect Indusind signals in DAS & non-DAS areas

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NEW DELHI: Taj Television (India) Pvt. Ltd, Mumbai was today directed by the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) not to give effect to the disconnection order in Digital Addressable System (DAS) and non-DAS areas against IndusInd Media & Communications Ltd if the latter makes payment according to formulas drawn up by the Tribunal as an interim arrangement.

Under the order for DAS areas, Indusind counsel Vandana D. Jaisingh handed over to Taj TV counsel Tejveer Singh Bhatia four cheques amounting to Rs 5.42 crore. In addition, Indusind will pay Rs 10 crore by 2 November, Rs 5 crore by 9 November and Rs 10 crore by 30 November, 2015.

Admitting both cases and posting them before the Registrar’s court on 18 December for completion of pleadings, the Tribunal made clear that the directions are towards earlier dues as far as DAS areas are concerned. 

In addition, Indusind must make payments of the invoices raised by Taj TV for the months of October and November this year for DAS areas.

TDSAT chairman Aftab Alam and members Kuldip Singh and B B Srivastava said the payments made in terms of this interim order will be without prejudice to the rights and contentions of the parties.

In the case relating to non-DAS areas, the Tribunal asked Indusind to make immediate payment of the outstanding dues up to 30 September subject to verification by reconciliation of accounts.

Taj TV had issued the disconnection notice as it claimed that dues amounted to Rs 9.58 crore till 31 October but this was disputed by Indusind, which submitted that it had made already payment of Rs 2.26 crore and was entitled to pay for October by 15 November.

However, Taj said the amount was arrived at after taking the amounting already paid into account.

The Tribunal directed Indusind to go to the respondent’s Mumbai office on 3 November for this purpose.

Following the reconciliation of accounts, the Tribunal said Indusind will pay the dues up to 30 September by6 November. The invoice for the month of October 2015 will be paid by 15 November.

Bhatia accepted notice on behalf of Taj TV for both petitions and was asked to file the reply within three weeks from today (30 October). Rejoinder, if any, may be filed within two weeks thereafter.

The agreement under which Indusind receives its signals from Taj TV came to end on 31 March but the latter continued to supply signals and Indusind continued to receive the signals and re-transmit them to its affiliates without any renewal of agreement and under the pretext that negotiations for the renewal of the agreement is going on between the two sides.  

The matter finally came to a head when Taj TV gave disconnection notices for disconnection of its supply of signals to the petitioner. The disconnection notices are based on grounds of non-payment of dues and non-renewal of the interconnect agreement. In the notice, the dues are quantified at Rs 36.44 crore upto 30 September. The amount of dues mentioned in the disconnection notice relate only to the monthly subscription fees.

Jaisingh disputed the amount mentioned in the disconnection notices. According to her, the admitted dues amount to Rs 24.85 crore. She contended that after the expiry of the agreement, the respondent is unauthorisedly raising invoices increasing the rate by more than 10 per cent from the rate mentioned in the previous agreement. 

Bhatia said the invoices from April 2015 onwards had been raised strictly in terms of the provisions of the agreement. 

The Tribunal felt that the submission of Bhatia “appears to be prima facie correct but we do not wish to make any conclusive pronouncement on that aspect of the matter at this stage.”

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