Independent TV To Cover Dues Of Rs 12 Crore Towards Antrix

Posted by TDSAT

Through M.A. No. 166 of 2019 filed, the petitioner has furnished the necessary facts and developments after the last order passed on 07.06.2019.   Admittedly, in view of the liberty granted to the respondents, the signals made available to the petitioner by the respondent no. 1 have been disconnected on 12.06.2019 due to inability of the petitioner to meet the financial conditions indicated in the last order.  Thereafter the respondent has encashed bank guarantees worth Rs. 15 Crore furnished by the petitioner.  According to the petitioner, the invoiced dues at that stage were only worth Rs. 14.8 Crore.  The prayer on behalf of the petitioner made through the M.A. is to direct the respondent – Antrix to reconnect the signals forthwith with a further direction to enter into a long term lease agreement with the petitioner because petitioner has now received intimation that it has been granted the required licence by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on certain conditions and the licence is valid till 31st December, 2019.  According to learned counsel for the petitioner, the petitioner has written to respondent no. 2 to permit the petitioner to meet with the requirements of bank guarantee etc. by 06.07.2019.  The petitioner is yet to receive a reply to the said letter, which according to learned counsel for respondent no. 2, has been received only yesterday.

From the submissions of learned counsel for respondent no. 1, it appears that negotiations and talks for a long term lease agreement will take some time and for availing signals till the next date, the petitioner must be put to financial terms so as to secure the payment of latest invoice raised by Respondent No. 1 towards arrears which is for Rs. 5.83 Crore.  According to learned counsel, the dues for a month of consumption would create a further liability of around Rs. 5 Crores and therefore, petitioner should either pay the arrears forthwith or furnish bank guarantees for not less than the amounts indicated above i.e. around 11 Crore.  According to the submissions the best cause would be to direct the petitioner to furnish bank guarantee so as to cover the three months of space segment charges.

Considering that the petitioner has been facing financial difficulties which led to disconnection as already noted, we are of the view that resumption of facilities in favour of the petitioner should be made available only on petitioner either paying the amount of Rs. 5.83 Crore along with a bank guarantee of Rs. 6 Crore or on furnishing a bank guarantee of Rs. 12 Crore valid for at least two months.  As soon as the petitioner complies with this part and furnishes the bank guarantee or makes the payment, of respondent no. 1 shall reconnect the signals.

Since the main prayer of the petitioner is a direction to Antrix to enter into a long term lease agreement, we direct both the parties to enter into negotiations so that a final decision in this regard may be taken at an early date, preferably within four weeks from the date of resumption of supply of signals.

It goes without saying that if a long term lease agreement is executed, the respondents will be protected by the financial conditions for the same.  In case a long term lease agreement is not executed within the said period, the respondent no. 1 should disclose the reasons through an affidavit to be filed by the next date.  Necessary interim orders for payments etc. may be reconsidered on the next date.―BCS Bureau

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