The Delhi High Court today demand response of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India on a plea challenging its tariff order making it mandatory for cellular operators to compensate subscribers for call drops from January 1.
A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath issued notice to the TRAI on a plea moved by cellular operators, who termed the order as mutually incompatible and destructive.
“Since it has to be applied from January 1, 2016, we will hear the government and pass the order,” the bench said while listing the matter for December 22.
The operators have sought quashing of the TRAI’s October 16 ruling mandating service providers to pay subscribers Re 1 per call drop experienced on their network, subject to a cap of three a day.
Besides Cellular Operators Association of India, the association of Unified Telecom Service Providers of India and 21 telecom operators, including Vodafone, Bharti Airtel and Reliance in their plea said, the decision has been issued knowing fully well that laws of physics makes it impossible to provide a hundred per cent call drop-free network.
“Issue an appropriate writ striking down and setting aside the Telecom Consumers Protection Regulation 2015 of October 16, 2015.
“Hold and declare that TRAI has no power to adjudicate and award compensation under the provisions of the TRAI Act 1997 ,” the plea said.
The operators further said the subject matter is already covered by a prior and existing quality of service regulation, 2009 dated March 20, 2009, hence, this is an occupied field. They also said there is no clause dealing with compensation even in the licence.
“On contrary, as per the licence agreement, the operators are not required to cover the entire service area.
The operators are mandated to roll out their network so as to cover 90 per cent service area in metro There is no requirement of compulsory coverage in the rural area,” the plea said.
It also added that “the present is a case of patent non- application of mind. TRAI has considered Irreconcilable materials.”