Telecom major Bharti Airtel has been ordered by a consumer forum here to pay Rs 25,000 to a post-paid subscriber as compensation for harassing him by demanding fresh documents to verify his six-year-old connection and then stopping outgoing calls on his number.

While holding the telecom major guilty of rendering deficient service and causing harassment to complainant Manoj Kumar Sharma, a school teacher, the New Delhi District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum said Airtel could not have issued the post-paid number in the first place without all the relevant documents.

“A post-paid connection is issued to subscribers only after the residential proof like passport, driving license, ration card and voter ID card are provided to the opposite party (Airtel). Otherwise, it could have never issued a post-paid connection to any subscriber.

“It is a clear case of deficiency on the part of opposite party to harass the subscriber without any rhyme and reason. Opposite party is directed to pay (Sharma) Rs 25,000 as harassment, mental agony and litigation charges as the consumer has been suffering without any valid reasons since 2009,” the bench presided by C.K Chaturvedi said.

A resident of Lodhi Road Complex here, Sharma in his complaint filed in October 2009 had said he had been using an Airtel post-paid connection for over six years when the firm’s service centre called him up and asked him to provide fresh set of documents for verifying his number.

He had agreed and had asked them to send someone to collect the documents from his home but no one came, he had said in his complaint and added that Airtel then blocked all outgoing calls from his number without informing him.

In its written statement, Airtel said it was acting according to the provisions of the Indian Telegraph Act and the TRAI guidelines.

The forum rejected the contention, saying its act was totally arbitrary.

(This article was published on August 1, 2012)
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