The Supreme Court is likely to give today its judgment on plea by associations of telecom operators challenging sector regulator TRAI’s October 16, 2015 notification obligating service providers to compensate consumers for dropped calls, at Rs.one each for the first three calls daily.
The verdict by a bench of Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman will be on the petitions by the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) and the Association of Unified Service Provider of India (USPAI) who have challenged the Delhi High Court’s February 29 order upholding the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) notification.
The judgment will be pronounced by Justice Nariman.
Telecom service providers (TSPs), in the course of the hearing, had contended that TRAI decision to saddle them with penalty for call drops was a “populist” measure to accommodate telecom consumers as these were happening for host of external consideration not attributable to them.
The associations had contended that under the terms and conditions of licence, it was only when call drops exceed a 2 percent ceiling that operators attract penalties, and none of the telecom service providers have breached the cap or penalised on this count.
However, TRAI had defended its decision to impose call drop penalty on the telecom service providers describing it as a “least invasive way to deal with the issue” and told the apex court that the service providers must enhance their investment in infrastructure as they were earning huge revenues.