TDSAT orders Dish TV to liquidate Star India entire arrears by November

NEW DELHI: According to a chart furnished to show payment details actually made by the petitioner (Dish TV) to the respondent (Star India) till 3rd September 2019 and also details of the payments proposed to be made till 31st October 2019. It has been shown that the current dues for the month of June have been paid before 10.8.2019 as per the date for payment indicated in the order passed on 29.7.2019.  It has further been shown that towards arrears, the amount of Rs. 65 crores indicated in that order have also been paid by 30.8.2019.

Senior counsel for Dish TV has pleaded that following the earlier manner of paying the current dues, the petitioner may be permitted to clear the dues for the month of July by 10.9.2019 so that the payment cycle is maintained for the time being.

This was resisted by learned senior counsel for the respondent by referring to the provisions in the Regulations 2017. According to him, since there was a delay in submitting the subscriber reports, the provisional invoice was raised in terms of the regulations and that became payable on 27.8.2019, within 15 days of receipt of the invoice by the petitioner.  Hence, according to him, the petitioner has defaulted in paying the current dues for the month of July 2019 within the time as stipulated in the regulations.

TDSAT noted that “The prime concern at present is to ensure that the arrears payable by the petitioner were liquidated within the undue delay, we shall take up the issue of paying the current invoice within the time permitted by regulations after the arrears are liquidated.  For the time being, the petitioner is permitted to follow the earlier practice only for a limited period as indicated above. Hence, he must pay the current invoices in similar fashion by 10th of each succeeding month.”

In the last order, the petitioner had offered to pay the entire arrears in five instalments of Rs. 40 crores, but this was protested by the other side and the orders indicate that the petitioner should clear the outstanding arrears in approximate equal instalment by the end of October 2019.

This aspect was, however, kept flexible by recording further that this may be reviewed on the subsequent date if required.  But the petitioner was asked to pay Rs. 65 crores by end of August 2019 towards the arrears which have been paid by the petitioner. 

Learned senior counsel for the petitioner has referred to the payment details and has pleaded that in addition to the payment against the current invoices, the petitioner may be permitted to liquidate the arrears through monthly instalments of Rs. 40 crores only.  He has undertaken that Rs. 40 crores shall be paid by the petitioner by end of September 2019 and as per this plea, an amount of Rs. 56.65 crores approximately would be still balance towards arrears after 31.10.2019.

TDSAT ordered that petitioner should liquidate the entire arrears to the extent admitted and noted by end of November 2019 and for this petitioner shall pay the remaining outstanding dues towards the arrears in three equal instalments by end of September, October and November 2019.  

On making such payments within the time indicated above, the impugned notice shall not be given effect to till next date. 

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