Asianet knocks at Delhi High Court’s doors again as Star India deactivates its channels

Star India switched off its signal on Asianet Digital Networks on June 8 despite Delhi High Court’s order putting an interim arrangement between the two over a payment-related dispute.

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Jun 16, 2018 9:48 AM

Star India has switched off its signal on multi system operator (MSO) Asianet Digital Networks despite a Delhi High Court order putting an interim arrangement between the two over a payment-related dispute. This has reportedly compelled the MSO to move the Delhi High Court.

The high court in its order on June 1 had directed Asianet to continue availing Star’s signal.

“It is open to the appellants to continue to avail the signals provided by Star India Pvt. Ltd. upon payment of the amount (demanded but which is disputed by it) i.e. Rs 2.5 crore p.m.,” the high court order read.

The order also reserved Asianet’s rights “to urge its grounds challenging the terms” and added that “Star India Pvt. Ltd. too would not be precluded from urging any contention before TDSAT.”

However, despite the order, Star India deactivated its channels on Asianet Digital Networks on June 8.

Following the deactivation, a message on Asianet read, “Dear subscribers, violating the order of Hon’ble Delhi High Court dated 1.6.2018, Star India has deactivated the channels. We sincerely regret the inconvenience caused. We will take necessary steps to approach the Hon’ble High Court to restore justice for our subscribers. Request your cooperation.”

The case is being heard by the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT). On May 23, 2018, TDSAT ordered both the parties to execute a reference interconnect offer (RIO) agreement within seven days. Asianet then moved the Delhi High Court challenging the TDSAT order.

In its June 1 order, the Delhi HC had requested TDSAT “to complete hearing and render its final decision on the pending petitions before it expeditiously, preferably within six months.”

It also said that the arrears, if any, of the constituting difference between what was payable under the old regime (which expired on March 31, 2018) and what is to be payable on the basis of the present understanding for the months of April and May shall be paid over to Star India within 60 days starting June 1, 2018.

Earlier, Star India Pvt. Ltd. had urged TDSAT to direct Asianet Digital Network Pvt. Ltd. to enter into an agreement w.e.f. 01.04.2018 on RIO basis because of failure to arrive at a negotiated agreement. On the other hand, Asianet Digital Network Pvt. Ltd. had requested TDSAT to direct Star India Pvt. Ltd. to renew/execute a fixed sum subscription fees agreement w.e.f. 01.04.2018 on non-discriminatory and reasonable rates in comparison to another MSO, M/s. ACCL.

exchange4media reached out to Asianet as well as Star India for their response on the issue, but did not get their reply till the filing of the report.

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