Call Drops: Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Telecom Operators' Plea

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Call Drops: Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Telecom Operators' Plea

The Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to hear a plea of two cellular operator associations challenging Delhi High Court order upholding Trai's decision making it mandatory for them to compensate subscribers for call drops from January 1, 2016.

The plea of the associations was mentioned before a bench of Chief Justice T S Thakur seeking urgent hearing on the matter. The bench also comprising Justice U U Lalit asked the associations "Why don't you correct the system?"

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the telecom associations, said that this matter required urgent hearing as Delhi HC has upheld the Trai order, after which the bench agreed to hear the plea on Friday.

The high court had, earlier this week, upheld the October 16, 2015 RPT 2015 decision of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) making it mandatory for cellular operators to pay consumers one rupee per call drop experienced on their networks, subject to a cap of Rs. 3 a day.

The court order came while dismissing a batch of petitions filed by Cellular Operators Association of India, a body of Unified Telecom Service Providers of India and 21 telecom operators, including Vodafone, Bharti Airtel, and Reliance.

The high court had said that it had not stayed Trai's notification since filing of the writ petition, therefore the telecom regulator is at liberty to implement its decision January 1, 2016 onwards. The court had said that the regulation was made by Trai "keeping in mind the paramount interest of the consumer".

The telecom operators had moved the high court seeking quashing of Trai's regulation contending that it was a "knee-jerk reaction" which penalised them without proving any wrong-doing.

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