HARIKA CABLE VISION Vs. MAA TELEVISION NETWORK LTD.
TELECOM DISPUTES SETTLEMENT AND APPELLATE TRIBUNAL
Harika Cable Vision
Maa Television Network Ltd.
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(1.) THE petitioner, Harika Cable Vision (Harika), is a multi -system operator. It has filed this petition against the respondent, MAA Television Network (MAA), which is a broadcaster, seeking a direction to it to renew its interconnect agreement with the petitioner for Tenali area and also to supply its signals to the petitioner for retransmission in the area of Guntur Mandal, by entering into a fresh agreement for Guntur area.
(2.) HARIKA has been trying to get the signals of MAA in the area of Guntur since 2010 and this is the third round of litigation in that connection. It first filed petition No. 401(C) of 2010 seeking the signals of MAA for the areas of Chebrolu and Guntur Mandals. That petition was disposed of by order dated 27 July 2011 in the following terms:
"We, therefore, are of the opinion that interest of justice would be sub -served, if this petition is disposed of with a direction upon respondent to enter into a negotiation with petitioner on the basis of the offer made by the former as also on the basis of the evidence which it may produce at a meeting with respondent with regard to the subscriber base in the light of Clause 9.2 of the Regulations.
The respondent may also consider the question keeping in mind the areas in which petitioner is said to have laid the cable but has not started any operation as yet which of course is a large one. There cannot be any doubt or dispute that petitioner must also place before respondent all evidences that it is otherwise entitled to operate in the expanded area in accordance with law and the broadcaster would be in a position to transmit signals of its channels on reasonable terms and on a non -discriminatory basis.
This petition is disposed of on the above terms but in the facts and circumstances of this case without any order as to costs."
(3.) THE negotiations, as directed by the Tribunal, did not yield any favourable result for Harika and it once again came to the Tribunal in petition No. 523(C) of 2011. In this proceeding, the Tribunal found that Harika had supplied a list of five cable operators to MAA and had also submitted copies of the letters given to Harika by those cable operators stating that, at that time, they did not have any pay channels and they were willing to take signals from Harika. The Tribunal, however, noted that the petitioner had not produced any evidence to prove those documents and hence, the documents submitted by the petitioner could not be relied upon. On the other hand, MAA had stated that those cable operators were already getting its signals from other multi -system operators. The Tribunal observed that MAA had been able to prove its case by leading cogent evidence which clearly showed that the cable operators in question were already getting MAA's signals from another multi -system operator. The Tribunal thus found and held that Harika had failed to fulfill the conditions as required under clause 9.2 of the Interconnect Regulations 2004 for seeking signals for the first time. It, accordingly, dismissed Harika's petition by judgment and order dated 9 October 2012.
At this stage it may be noted that in this back ground one M/s. Siti Guntur Digital Network Pvt. Ltd.(Siti) which is a multi -system operator, operating in Guntur from before, had filed petition No. 420(C) of 2014 making the allegation that Harika, the present petitioner (impleaded in that petition as respondent No. 2), was un -authorisedly retransmitting MAA's channels in Guntur, even though it had no agreement with the broadcaster. In that case, counsel for Harika denied the allegation of any unauthorized retransmission of MAA's channels by it in Guntur and recording the statement made by the counsel for Harika, petition No. 420(C) of 2014 was disposed of by passing the following order on 30 October 2014:
"Mr. Sharath Sampath, advocate puts in appearance on behalf of respondent No. 2, namely, Harika Cable Vision and on instructions received from Mr. K. Anil Kumar, the authorized representative of respondent No. 2 (who is present in court) states that the respondent (Harika Cable Vision) has not been re -transmitting either directly or indirectly, the channels of MAA TV. Mr. Sampath also gives the undertaking that in future too the petitioner shall not transmit either directly or indirectly, in the area of Guntur, the channels of MAA TV as long as it does not enter into an interconnect agreement with MAA Television.
The statement made by Mr. Sampath satisfies the cause of action for the petition. It is accordingly disposed of with the caution that in case of violation of the undertaking, respondent No. 2 shall bear the consequences." ;
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