MUMBAI: In a further development to the Independent TV v/s Antrix Corporation Ltd case, the former has been asked by the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) to either pay Rs 5.83 crore along with a bank guarantee of Rs 6 crore or furnish a bank guarantee of Rs 12 crore to the latter to get its connection restored. The case has been set for further hearing on 7 August.
Antrix had disconnected the signals of the DTH service-provider on 12 June due to its inability to meet financial conditions and had encashed the Rs 15 crore bank guarantee given by Independent TV post the last hearing in the case.
Independent TV had filed an MA requesting the tribunal to direct Antrix to reconnect the signals as well as to enter into a long-term lease agreement with the petitioner since it has now received the required licence by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on certain conditions and the licence is valid till 31 December 2019.
TDSAT noted that negotiations for a long-term lease agreement will take some time and some financial conditions must be established so as to secure the payment of the latest invoice raised by Antrix towards arrears which are Rs 5.83 crore.
As contested by Antrix, the dues for a month of consumption would create a further liability of around Rs 5 crore and therefore, Independent TV should either pay the arrears forthwith or furnish bank guarantees for not less than the amounts indicated above i.e. around Rs 11 crore. According to the submissions, the best case would be to direct the petitioner to furnish bank guarantee so as to cover the three months of space segment charges.
“Considering that the petitioner (Independent TV) has been facing financial difficulties which led to disconnection as already noted, we are of the view that resumption of facilities in favour of the petitioner should be made available only on petitioner either paying the amount of Rs 5.83 crore along with a bank guarantee of Rs 6 crore or on furnishing a bank guarantee of Rs 12 crore valid for at least two months. As soon as the petitioner complies with this part and furnishes the bank guarantee or makes the payment, respondent no. 1 (Antrix) shall reconnect the signals,” said TDSAT in its order.
It further added, “Since the main prayer of the petitioner is a direction to Antrix to enter into a long term lease agreement, we direct both the parties to enter into negotiations so that a final decision in this regard may be taken at an early date, preferably within four weeks from the date of resumption of supply of signals. It goes without saying that if a long-term lease agreement is executed, the respondents will be protected by the financial conditions for the same. In case a long-term lease agreement is not executed within the said period, the respondent no. 1 should disclose the reasons through an affidavit to be filed by the next date. Necessary interim orders for payments etc. may be reconsidered on the next date.”