Mobile operators on Thursday moved the Delhi High Court challenging the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (Trai) tariff order making it mandatory for them to compensate subscribers for the very first three calls dropped per day at the rate of Re 1 per dropped call from January 1.
Terming the Trai order as mutually contradictory and destructive, the two telecom industry bodies, Cellular Operators Association of India and Association of Unified Telecom Service Providers of India, have moved court. The matter will be heard on December 14.
They have sought quashing of the October 16 ruling mandating services provider to pay subscribers Re 1 per call drop experienced on their network, subject to a cap of three a day.
“The impugned decision has been issued knowing fully well that the laws of Physics makes it impossible to provide a 100 per cent call drop free network. That the very same subject matter is already covered by a prior and existing Quality of Service Regulations, 2009 dated 20.03.2009 – hence this is an occupied field,” the telcos have said in their petition to the court.
“Thus, this quality of services regulation pre-supposes a fault-based liability and if fault does not arise i.e. call drops are within the said 2 per cent limit, then no financial disincentive is paable. However, the impugned regulation prescribes for payment of compensation for the very first call drop even though the same is within the exempted limit of 2 per cent under the QoS Regulation. It is mutually contradictory and destructive,” the petitioners have alleged.
The telcos pointed out that the present case is of patent non-application of mind. “The Trai has considered irrelevant material and has eschewed relevant considerations and material, violative of the Wednesbury principles, perverse, arbitrary and violative of Article 14,” the telcos argued in their petition.
Senior lawyers Harish Salve and Abhishek Manu Singhvi to will argue on behalf of the telecom industry. The move by the telcos comes in the wake of the government refusing to entertain the plea of telecom companies, citing that it is a regulatory issue and not in its domain.
The telcos have also stated that Trai in its technical paper has noted and recognised several factors both external as also beyond the control of the service providers, which have a bearing on telecommunication services and on ‘call drops’. “This was a post-facto exercise which validates the concerns and issues raised ..,” the telcos stated.
With inputs from Financial Express