There seems to be no respite in the ongoing legal spat between Tata Sky and ESPN. Tata Sky had filed a petition and an application, both of which were listed before the Delhi High Court on June 23. The Delhi High Court has now sent back the legal spat between ESPN and Tata Sky before the sectoral tribunal TDSAT. ESPN and Tata Sky have been sparring over sharing of signals, carriage of channels and allegation of contempt of court.
Nanju Ganpathy, counsel for ESPN Software India Pvt Ltd (ESIPL), said, “In the application filed by Tata Sky, they mainly contended that ESIPL has withdrawn its Reference Interconnect Offer (RIO) dated May 15, 2008, and they contended that this RIO, which was a bone of contention between the parties, having been withdrawn by ESIPL, Tata Sky should be discharged from complying with their undertaking given to the Delhi High Court to make available the three channels of ESIPL, namely ESPN, STAR Sports and STAR Cricket, to all their subscribers as on May 20, 2008.”
Earlier this month, Tata Sky had removed the three ESPN channels – ESPN, Star Sports and Star Cricket – from its basic offering to its two million subscribers and placed it under a special pack. As a result, ESPN had approached Delhi High Court from where it was given a relief after Tata Sky gave its undertaking that it would restore the three ESPN channels in the basic package till the next hearing of TDSAT in July.
“On behalf of ESPN, it was pointed out to the Court that ESPN had sought permission from TRAI to withdraw its RIO of May 15, 2008, but TRAI by its communication addressed to ESPN stated that ESPN could not withdraw its RIO unless ESPN filed its modified / amended RIO at the same time. In view of TRAI’s communication dated June 19, 2008, ESPN restored / reinstated its RIO of May 15, 2008, to its website,” Ganapthy added.
He further said that in these circumstances, the Delhi High Court did not relieve Tata Sky from the undertaking it gave to the Court on June 6, 2008. Instead, the High Court granted leave to Tata Sky to approach the TDSAT, where the matter is pending, to seek early hearing. The Delhi High Court on June 23 also dismissed the Tata Sky injunction application filed against ESIPL.
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