TDSAT passed judgment in favour of Dish TV against ESPN Software India Private Limited (ESS), awards Costs
New Delhi: The Hon´ble TDSAT passed judgment in favor of Dish TV case against ESS on movement of Fixed Fee Agreement to RIO based Agreement. Dish TV was availing the Channels ESPN, Star Sports and Star Cricket from the Broadcaster – ESPN Software India Private Limited (ESS) on fixed fee basis. The said fixed fee agreement was valid upto June 2012. However, with the reduction of quality content in these channels and the rights available to Dish TV as a DTH Operator under the Interconnect Regulations of TRAI, Dish TV intimated to ESS in the month of July 2011 that it would be distributing the channels of ESS on RIO basis with effect from September 01, 2011 and accordingly ESS should raise the invoices on Dish TV on the basis of its RIO rates, with effect from 01.09.2011.
The said movement of Dish TV from Fixed Fee Agreement to a RIO based Agreement was not accepted by ESS. Upon ESS rejecting the contention of Dish TV of moving from Fixed Fee Agreement to RIO based Agreement, Dish TV approached the Hon’ble TDSAT in the month of September 2011 requesting the Hon’ble TDSAT to direct ESS to raise the Invoices on Dish TV from 01.09.2011 on the basis of RIO rates. During the pendency of the matter, Dish TV continued to make the payment to ESS on the basis of Fixed Fee Agreement. As a counter to the above petition of Dish TV, ESS preferred a petition before the Tribunal wherein they sought a direction from the Tribunal against Dish TV to continue making payment as per the agreement executed dated 12.03.2009 with them and also to declare that the request of Dish TV to ask for RIO was not binding on them. ESS also sought specific performance of the MoU dated 12.03.2009 executed between Dish TV and ESS.
The Hon’ble TDSAT allowed the Dish TV petition and dismissed the petition made by ESS seeking specific performance, as wholly without merit and at the same time awarded costs to Dish TV.
Speaking on the judgment Mr. R.C. Venkateish, CEO, Dish TV said, “This judgment of the Hon’ble TDSAT is a landmark judgment for the DTH Industry clearly establishing the right of a DTH operator to move from a fixed fee arrangement to a RIO based agreement. The said judgment will bring order in the Industry and will also enable the DTH operator to continue providing the channels to the Subscribers on affordable and competitive rate”.
The matter was heard at length at the TDSAT and the judgment was pronounced by the tribunal on April 10, 2012. The tribunal also allowed Dish TV to recover the excess payment of around 25 crores made to ESS for the period starting from 01.09.2011.
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