The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Amendment) Act, 2014

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Amendment) Act, 2014 (Act no. 20 of 2014) being the Central Government Act, has received the assent of President of India on 17th July, 2014 and it was enacted with the object to amend the provisions of the Original Act of 1997 i.e. Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997 (Act no. 24 of 1997) which was to provide for establishing a Telecom Regulatory Authority of India and also Tribunal namely, ‘Telecom Dispute Settlement Tribunal’ and Appellate Tribunal i.e. ‘Telecom Dispute Settlement Appellate Tribunal’ for telecom disputes settlement and to regulate telecommunication services, and also for other purposes which are mentioned under the preamble of that Act. Originally the object of the Act was to provide for a establishment of Telecom Regulatory Authority only, however, the establishment of those Tribunals was inserted with the Amendment Act of 2000 (i.e. Act no. 2 of 2000) which brought into force on 24th January, 2000. Before the Amendment brought in the year 2000, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India was to perform both regulatory and decision making (i.e. Disputes resolutions) functions, however, after that Amending Act of 2000 was brought into force the Tribunals were vested with the power to deal with such dispute resolution functions independently. The necessity as to formation of independent telecom authority was emphasized by Hon’ble Supreme Court of India, in the case of Delhi Science Forum vs. Union of India, where the constitutional validity of National Telecom Policy, 1994 was considered by that Court. The Original Act is enacted with the main motive to protect the interest of consumers in telecommunication services. Prior to this Amending Act of 2014, there was an Ordinance to that effect, namely, The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Amendment) Ordinance, 2014 date 28th May, 2014.

The Telecom Regulator Authority of India as established under Section 3 of the Original Act, is consisting of Chairperson and other members as appointed by the Central Government. The Terms of Office and other conditions, etc. of services of such Chairperson and other members is discussed under original section 5 of the Act. The original sub clause (8) under that section was dealing with the full time officers or Chairperson, who is ceasing to hold such offices should not be eligible to further employment under the Central Government or any State Government, etc. However, this Amending Act provides a new sub clause in place of original one stating that, such officers should not be accept the employment under either Central or State Government or otherwise, for the period of two years of their ceasing to hold that offices, however it can be done by them if they will get previous approval of the Central Government. Similarly, this Amending Act of 2014 requires the omission of Explanation appended with the section 5 of the Act. The concerned Explanation was dealing with meaning of the term ‘Commercial Employment’ which was meant an employment in any capacity under the persons engaged in trading, commercial etc. and also including director and partner of company or firm respectively, etc.

Further the Ordinance of 2014 as aforesaid, also sought to be repealed by the provisions of section 3 of this Amending Act of 2014. However, it is provided that whatever had been done or any actions if had been taken under the provisions of the Original Act of 1997 in pursuance to the amendment provided under that Ordinance of 2014, the same should be treated as have been done or taken under the same Original Act as have been amended by this Act of 2014.

The aforesaid Amending Act of 2000 is taken for repealing in to as per provisions of the Repealing and Amending (second) Bill, 2014, however, the effect of that Amending Act of 2000 i.e. the actions taken under that Act is not required to be affected under the provisions of the Repealing Bill of 2014.

by Faim Khalilkhan Pathan.