The Supreme Court on May 8, 2014 refused the request of ETV and MAA TV for stay on the order of the Telecom Disputes Settlement & Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) dated March 14, 2014, which had directed both the channels to provide signals to JainHITS.
Moreover, the Apex Court directed them to provide signals within two days in the interim, on a pan-India basis to NSTPL. NSTPL is the only HITS (Headend In The Sky) service provider in the country under the brand name JainHITS and offers services to consumers through Local Cable Operators (LCOs) across the country.
“NSTPL has been trying to get signals for JainHITS from various broadcasters for the past two years, but have been denied the same on various grounds. It was only in October last year that broadcasters started providing signals, after orders were passed by the Tribunal. However, ETV and MAA TV still were reluctant to provide signals, thus necessitating NSTPL to approach TDSAT,” said Vivek Chib, Counsel for NSTPL.
According to TDSAT’s March 14 order, the bench of Justice Aftab Alam, Chairperson of TDSAT, and Kuldip Singh, Member, had held that ETV and MAA TV cannot refuse to grant signals to JainHITS on grounds that certain defaulter LCOs or MSOs may approach NSTPL for signals. The Tribunal held that the respondents, that is, ETV and MAA TV, had not furnished the name of a single MSO or LCO that might have been held to be its defaulter by a court or competent authority and to whom the petitioner might supply the signals. The petitioner itself was not in any default in payments to the respondent as they were not in any business relationship earlier. Thus, looked at from any angle, the prohibition of the provision to regulation 3.2 of the Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable Services) Interconnection Regulations, 2004 was not applicable to this case.
Both ETV and MAA TV had preferred appeals challenging the Tribunal’s orders in the Supreme Court, showing unwillingness to provide signals to Noida Software Technology Park’s JainHITS.