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Call Drops Issue: SC declines interim relief of stay against order of Delhi High Court

New Delhi: Today, on 4th day of March, the honourable Apex Court has refused to grant any interim relief to the telecom operators against their challenge to the order of the Delhi High Court which had upheld the decision of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, where it had made it mandatory for them to compensate subscribers for call drops from First day of January, 2016.

The present decision is made by the Bench of the Apex Court, comprising of Justice- Kurian Joseph and Justice- Rohinton Fali Nariman who said that the question of the interim relief order will be heard on 10th day of March, i.e. on upcoming Thursday.

The Cellular operators representing, senior advocate- Kapil Sibal is questioned by the Bench to take adjournment before the TRAI, where they are supposed appear on this coming Monday.

Moreover, a notice to the Central Govt., TRAI and others are also issued by the Top court, where they are called with their responses, before the next week, in connection with such appeals, which were filed by the Cellular Operators Association of India- COAI, a body of Unified Telecom Service Providers of India and 21 telecom operators, like Reliance, Vodafone and Bharti Airtel.

While the Court was hearing the issue in brief, the plea of telecos was opposed by the Attorney General- Mukul Rohatgi who contended that in upholding the decision of the TRAI, the High Court was right and correct. Also, he further opposed the requests of the telecos where they sought no coercive steps as the decision was in the customer’s interest.

Moreover, the Bench in its view stated that it is not, ‘prima facie’ finding anything ‘ultra virus’ in the decision of the High Court, and if the call drop fault is on the part of the telecos then they need to pay for it. Moreover, the bench has agreed to examine the issue.

It was seen that the decision of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India- TRAI was upheld by the honourable Delhi High Court earlier this week, where the cellular operators are mandatorily required to pay consumers one rupee per call drop experienced on their networks, subject to a cap of Rs. 3 a day.

Adv. Faim Khalilkhan Pathan