March 2020


The Supreme Court recently dismissed the Government’s review petition against an order passed in September 2019 involving Dish TV. The apex court had dismissed the union government’s petition to transfer Dish TV’s license fee case from Jammu & Kashmir High Court to itself.

SC earlier allowed Government’s petition to transfer all the DTH license fee cases from the Kerala High Court to itself. Three DTH license fee cases involving DTH operators Sun Direct, Videocon d2h, and Bharti Telemedia were pending in the Kerala High Court. Videocon d2h has since merged with Dish TV. Other license fee cases pending in Kerala High Court were transferred to the SC and the Dish TV case in J&K High Court was not transferred.

The DTH operators are currently required to pay 10% of their gross revenue (GR) as license fee. The TRAI has, however, recommended to the ministry of information and broadcasting (MIB) that the license fee should be levied at 8% of Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) where AGR is calculated by excluding, Service Tax, Entertainment Tax and Sales Tax/VAT actually paid to the Government, from the Gross Revenue (GR).

Pertinently, the DTH operators have also challenged the MIB’s 24th March 2014 notice asking them to fork out ₹ 20.66 billion in license fee dues. The TDSAT had given interim relief to the DTH operators. The matter is still pending before the TDSAT.

The MIB had directed Dish TV to pay ₹ 625 crore followed by Tata Sky (₹ 620 crore), Airtel Digital TV (₹ 298 crore), Sun Direct (₹ 230 crore), Videocon d2h (₹ 157 crore), and Reliance Digital TV (₹ 136 crore).

Dish TV’s market cap last year was ₹ 4,299.33 crore and Dish TV had 23.9 million subscribers with operating revenue at ₹ 926.3 crore and ebidta at ₹ 536 crore. n