Since last month, the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) has stopped hearing cases after its Chairman and member retired. Though the hearing, judgment, opinion and directions are being transferred to the Delhi High Court, the pace of hearings and decisions have been a cause of worry for broadcasters and multi system operators (MSOs).
Speaking to exchange4media, Man Jit Singh, CEO, MSM said, “We hope that the Government will appoint someone soon. We are concerned about the non-functioning of TDSAT.” He further said that the Government has assured that a new member will be joining the Tribunal soon.
Small cable operators from outside Delhi say that the non-functioning of TDSAT is affecting them financially, and since the cases are being shifted to the High Court, the hearings are taking a long time.
Ashok Mansukhani, MD, Hinduja Ventures and President, MSO Alliance commented, “Whenever the TDSAT does not sit, litigants can approach the Delhi High Court, which is currently happening. Recruitment of a Chairman and members for TDSAT is in progress and there is a provisional listing of hearings on May 10 on the TDSAT website.”
He added that while hearing on lengthy and complex issues are on hold, disconnections and restorations being handled on merit basis by the Court. Speaking in TDSAT’s favour, Mansukhani said that it is a specialist tribunal with expertise in telecom, broadcasting and cable issues and has done a yeoman’s job in the last nine years for the electronic media industry in resolving knotty issues. “Its revival is looked forward to,” he added.
On the other hand, both Anil Mehra, Vice Chairman, TV Today and Sisir Pillai, Chief Strategy Officer, Digicable are worried about the effect on the normal course of business. Pillai added, “Non-functioning of the TDSAT is affecting the speedy disposal of cases.”
Meanwhile, it is learnt from industry sources that the Government is in the process of appointing TDSAT members so that the Tribunal is up and running at the earliest.