New Delhi: DTH operator TataSky today objected to a plea by broadcaster Turner International (India) to excuse it from a case involving its partner Zee and the Tata-Star joint venture.
During proceedings before broadcast tribunal TDSAT, which is hearing the case related to signal sharing, TataSky’s counsel argued that “Turner’s officials were actively involved in the negotiation with its agent (Zee-Turner)” and never once offered to share their feed (such as CNN and HBO) with the DTH operator.
Turner had approached TDSAT last week seeking deletion of its name from the tribunal’s order, which observed some broadcasters had failed to provide signals to the Direct-to- Home operator.
The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal on 31 March had observed that all the respondents — Turner International (India), Zee Telefilms, ASC Enterprises and Zee-Turner — had defaulted in providing signals to TataSky on non-discriminatory basis.
The DTH operator contended that Turner (India) was also a defaulter in the case.
“It hardly matters whether the channels are provided to us by their agent or the owner itself,” said the counsel, adding that as per the Indian Contract Act, a master is liable for the act done by his agent.
Taking note of this, the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal bench asked Turner (India) why did it support Zee-Turner non-sharing of signal with TataSky. “You could have taken an independent stand,” it added.
Defending its stand, Turner contended that TataSky approached them very late and filed the case in the tribunal before completing mandatory 30 days notice period. TataSky sent a notice to them on 8 July 2006 and filed the case on 16 July.
“There was no delay in providing signals by our side,” said the counsel appearing for Turner (India) Ltd adding that it was not a party to the dispute between TataSky and Zee- Turner and was unnecessarily dragged into the litigation.
Zee-Turner is a 74:26 joint venture between Zee Telefilms and Turner International to distribute their channels in South Asia.