Regulators

Taj TV not to give effect to disconnection notices if GTPL Hathway makes payment as per schedule

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New Delhi, 12 March: Taj Television has been directed by the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal not to give effect to its disconnection notice if GTPL Hathway Pvt. Ltd makes payment according to schedule agreed before it.

While directing the matter to be listed before the Registrar on 7 April, Chairman Aftab Alam and members Kuldip Singh and B B Srivastava worked out a formula for payment of Rs 63 crore in five instalments.

The Tribunal made clear that the last payment of Rs.11 crore in the formula agree upon was to come from GTPL Hathway’s JVs and this would be subject to reconciliation of accounts between the parties which should be completed by 20 March. It said the balance dues after reconciliation of accounts which may be Rs.11 crores or a little more or less must be cleared by 31 March. 

GTPL Hathway was directed to facilitate the payment of the last installment by its JVs to Taj TV and to ensure that the payments are finally made by 31 March.

Two other respondents in turn are directed to pay the amount of carriage fee of Rs.22 crores to the petitioner on or before 15April.

The monthly subscription for the months of February and March 2016 for DAS networks [other than DL GTPL CABLE NET, VAJI Communications and GTPL Hathway Pvt. Ltd and March, 2016 for Non-DAS will be cleared by 25 April.

But the Tribunal said: “Needless to say that the payments in terms of the above order will be on-account and without prejudice to the rights and contentions of the parties.”

The two petitions were filed against disconnection notices dated 13 February and 14 February. The disconnection notices are based on grounds of non-payment of monthly subscription fee and non-execution of the fresh agreements.

According to counsel for the respondent, its cumulative dues against the petitioner (both in DAS and non-DAS) areas amount to Rs.66 crores as on 12 February.

But counsel for GTPL Hathway strongly argued that the petitioner was entitled to carriage fee from two respondents and the dues of its carriage fee against these two respondents amounted to around Rs.25 crores. The petitioner further argued that the agreement was based on incremental tariff that was recommended by TRAI but which was later on set aside by the Tribunal and on that score also, the petitioner is entitled to adjustment of Rs.11 crores against the dues claimed by the petitioner.

Counsel for the respondent submitted that as stipulated in the interconnect agreement between the parties, the dues of subscription fee are payable independent of any adjustments, including any adjustment against carriage fee which was the subject matter of a separate agreement between the petitioner and the other two respondents.  In any event, the agreement relating to carriage fee has expired.

In course of submissions however, it transpired that the dues of carriage fee claimed by the petitioner may come down to Rs.22 crores and similarly the subscription dues of Taj TV against the petitioner may come down to Rs.63 crores.

The Tribunal thereupon asked GTPL Hathway to pay to Taj TV a sum of Rs.63 crores in five instalments, of which the last would be on 31 March.

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