SC admits RCom petition challenging TDSAT order

PTI New Delhi | Updated on March 21, 2011

The Supreme Court has admitted the petition of Reliance Communications challenging the order of the telecom tribunal TDSAT, which had set aside the plea of Anil Ambani group firm challenging penalty imposed by the state-run firm BSNL.

Apart from penalty, BSNL had also issued a disconnection notice from its network to the ADAG group firm for wrong routing of international calls in Karnataka Circle in 2003.

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Mr S H Kapadia admitted the appeal filed by RCom and posted the matter for final hearing on September 15, 2011.

“The civil appeal is admitted. The order dated 4th March, 2011, shall continue to operate till further orders. Place this appeal on 15th September, 2011,” the Bench said.

Earlier, on March 4, the Apex Court had stayed the order of the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal.

BSNL in 2005 had slapped RCom with two bills of Rs 1.5 crore and Rs 4.26 crore stating that RCom was tampering with Caller Line Identification and showing international calls as local ones. Also, it issued a disconnection notice to the company in March 27, 2007.

This was challenged by RCom before the TDSAT, which on January 21, 2011 rejected it by saying that plea was barred by limitation and there was no need to look into the merit of the case.

The TDSAT bench had said the impugned bill raised in 2005 was related to calls made in 2003. However, RCom approached TDSAT only in 2010 and hence it was not entitled to challenge it, the bench observed.

“In view of the fact that this petition is barred by limitation, it is not necessary for us to enter into the merit of the matter. This petition is, therefore, dismissed,” the Bench had said.

As per the rules, the state-run teleco had imposed highest slab of international calls for such unauthorised calls, which was challenged by RCom before TDSAT.

The tribunal further observed that Rcom was also not pursuing its case “bonafidely” by not providing call data records of its Point of Interconnections (PoI) despite several earlier orders.

“It cannot, therefore, be said that the petitioner was pursuing its remedy bonafide. The cause of action for bringing an action on the part of the petitioner was the disconnection of PoI and not the bill,” the tribunal said.

PoI between two operators is needed before subscribers can make and receive calls from different networks.

Published on March 21, 2011

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