hiddenApr 01, 2016 11:44:38 IST
Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) today told the Supreme Court that TRAI cannot levy penalty through regulations as they have never exceeded the two per cent threshold limit set by the telecom regulator.
The submissions were made by telecom operators before a bench of justices Kurian Joseph and R F Nariman in which they said that only one telecom operator has been penalised so far for the call drops since 2009.
"Telecom service providers have never crossed the threshold limit of two per cent call drop and TRAI cannot adopt a policy of zero tolerance of penalising for every call drop. The telecom regular cannot levy penalty through regulations," senior advocate Kapil Sibal appearing for COAI said.
Only one telecom operator has been penalised so far for the call drops while several service providers were given show cause notices, but the reasons given were accepted, he said.
COAI, a body of Unified Telecom Service Providers of India and 21 telecom operators, including Vodafone, Bharti Airtel and Reliance, have challenged the Delhi High Court order upholding TRAI's decision making it mandatory for them to compensate subscribers for call drops from this January. Sibal further said that Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) does have the powers to ensure quality of service but cannot impose penalty through regulations assuming that all fault for the call drops was of the telecom companies.
"The TRAI's regulations imposing penalty on call drop is ultra vires and arbitrary," he claimed while concluding his arguments, after which the court adjourned the matter for further hearing on April 5. Additional Solicitor General P S Narasimha, appearing for TRAI, said it will inform the bench during the course of the hearing about TRAI's stand on court's question whether it considered amending regulations to impose penalty on telecom firms.
On March 17, the apex court had asked TRAI whether it considered amending regulations to impose penalty on telecom firms in the wake of its technical papers dealing with the aspects of call drops.
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