TDSAT dismisses Discovery claim against All Digital Networks

NEW DELHI: An application by Discovery Communication India, New Delhi for recovery of certain sums from the multi-system operator All Digital Network India Ltd, Karnataka has been dismissed by the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal.

Chairperson Justice Aftab Alam and member B B Srivastava said that the evidence produced by the broadcaster in the form of e-mails from the MSO did not admit to any specific sums.

The order therefore said that the application could not be accepted under order XII rule 6, and listed the main matter to come up on 17 August 2016.

The broadcaster initially demanded a sum of Rs 67,01,292 which was later reduced to Rs.59,82,891 due as on 30 June 2015.

The tribunal in its judgment of 2 June 2016 noted that “It needs here to be clarified that the slight reduction in the amount of claim appears to have been necessitated on account of some recent decisions of the tribunal in which it is held that no claim for recovery of dues may be entertained by the tribunal normally beyond the term of the Interconnect agreement in writing. However, in case the petitioner is able to establish by evidence that after the expiry of the earlier agreement, the parties were in negotiation in regard to the terms of the fresh agreement, the claim for recovery may be extended to a point three months beyond the expiry of the previous agreement.”

Thee broadcaster has said the two parties had an Interconnect Agreement from 1 April 2014 to 31 March 2015.

In one of the e-mails, All Digital has referred to a strategic tie-up with GTPL Hathway Pvt. Ltd. and the broadcaster was asked to make changes in the name of the MSO.

From the first email about negotiations being on, the tribunal said, “it is impossible to infer that the respondent admitted its liability for payment of any specified amount to the petitioner much less the specific amount claimed by thepetitioner in its petition, later amended by the affidavit dated 2 February 2016.

The tribunal said that the email dated 19 May 2015 had “indeed an admission of certain outstanding dues of the petitioner in respect of which it is stated that the payment would be made by GTPL Hathway Pvt. Ltd. It is, however, evident that the admission is not to the effect that the respondent owes to the petitioner the specified amount as claimed by the petitioner and on the basis of that e-mail, it would not be possible to make any decree as claimed by the petitioner.”

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