Delhi High Court reserves order on PIL on call drop issue

Tuesday, Mar 15, 2016,14:22 IST By Metrovaartha A A A

New Delhi | The Delhi High Court today reserved for April 25 its order on a petition seeking enforcement of existing laws on call drops and waiver of full amount of a call when it is dropped. We will consider it and will pass an order, a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath said.

As soon as the hearing commenced, the counsel representing telecom operators told the bench that the Supreme Court is hearing the petitions against the high court’s order upholding the notification of Telelcom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on the call drop issue.

However, the counsel appearing for the petitioner argued that almost 50 per cent of the issue raised in his plea was different from the matter being heard by the apex court. The lawyer argued that telecom companies are not supposed to charge the customers if there is any call drop. Earlier, the high court had dismissed the pleas filed by cellular operators against the TRAI regulation mandating them to compensate consumers for call drops.

The petition alleged that telecom regulator has failed to take action against cellular operators despite the increasing number of call drops. Mobile companies are continuing to charge for dropped calls even when calls are not complete and service is not given, but TRAI failed to take action against them as per law.

Due to inaction on part of TRAI, telecom service providers (TSPs) too have become lackadaisical, especially with respect to quality of services, the petition, filed through advocate Virag Gupta, has claimed.

The petition has contended while the telecom companies continue to spend crores of rupees in advertising and readily compete against each other, in the present instance they were protesting against a very mild maximum penalty of Rs 3 a day per customer for call drops.

It has also alleged that Department of Telecommunication and TRAI have extended many out of turn favours such as allowing of sharing of spectrum and installation of towers on government buildings to assist the telecom service providers in curbing call drops but it has failed to stop the call drop menace.

Apart from enforcement of existing laws and waiver of full amount on dropping of calls, the PIL has also sought payment of compensation to both caller and receiver as well as crediting of previous year’s illegal gains because of undue charging of dropped calls by the TSPs in the Telecommunication Consumers Education and Protection Fund. It has also sought a direction to the telecom companies to provide details of dropped calls to the consumers by way of SMS and in telephone bill.

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