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Supreme Court strikes down TRAI's call drop penalty on telecom companies

News Agencies | Updated on: 10 February 2017, 1:49 IST

The Supreme Court on 11 May ruled in favor of the telecom companies and struck down the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India's call drop penalty regulation.

The apex court asserted that the policy - which imposed a penalty on the telecom companies for call drops -was unreasonable and arbitrary.

The TRAI had made it mandatory for cellular operators to pay consumers Re 1 per call drop experienced on their networks, subject to a cap of Rs 3 a day.

"The Supreme Court has rendered a historic judgment today by striking down the regulation in terms of which telecom operators were going to be charged for call drops they have struck down the regulation as being ultra virus, unreasonable and manifestari arbitrary and they also said that the procedure followed was entirely non-transparent," said senior council Kapil Sibal, appearing on behalf of the telecos.

"The apex court has also asked that the Parliament should in fact frames regulation or a law in terms of which even sub-ordinate legislations be subjected to principal of transparency as is reflected in several judgment of American Courts, including the American Supreme Court and they have taken a que from the RTI act," he added.

Sibal further said that the governments and ministers should not be populist when making decisions.

"If you want to please the people of India and want to become popular amongst them, do it in accordance of law, not outside the law," he said.

The penalty, which was imposed on call originating service provider, came into force from 1 January. The penalty was imposed on a trial basis for six months.

The Delhi High Court had earlier upheld call drop penalty and TRAI's power to legislate for consumers' benefits.

The telecom operators had approached the court seeking revocation of TRAI's regulation contending that it was a knee-jerk reaction which penalised them without proving any wrongdoing.


First published: 11 May 2016, 12:14 IST