‘Trai or­der ar­bi­trary, tel­cos need not pay for call drops’

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - Bhadra Sinha bhadra.sinha@hin­dus­tan­times.com

NEW DELHI: Tele­com com­pa­nies will not have to com­pen­sate cus­tomers for call drops, the Supreme Court ruled on Wed­nes­day, strik­ing down an or­der by the sec­tor reg­u­la­tor that sought to pe­nalise ser­vice providers for call dis­rup­tions.

A bench of jus­tices Kurian Joseph and RF Na­ri­man de­clared the reg­u­la­tion to be “ar­bi­trary, non-trans­par­ent and un­rea­son­able”. The or­der came on a clutch of pe­ti­tions by tele­com oper­a­tors chal­leng­ing a Delhi high court ver­dict up­hold­ing reg­u­la­tor TRAI’s no­ti­fi­ca­tion ask­ing them to com­pen­sate con­sumers Rs 1 for each call drop, sub­ject to a max­i­mum of three dis­rupted calls a day.

“The im­pugned reg­u­la­tion must be held to be man­i­festly ar­bi­trary and an un­rea­son­able re­stric­tion on the ap­pel­lants and their busi­ness,” the bench or­dered, hold­ing the TRAI did not con­sult the stake­hold­ers who were not al­lowed to make their sub­mis­sions on the reg­u­la­tion. The pro­ce­dure fol­lowed to bring in the sub­or­di­nate leg­is­la­tion was non-trans­par­ent, it said.

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