The Delhi High Court this week ordered DoT’s (Department of Telecommunications) view on recommendation of TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) to apply a penalty of Rs 950 Crore on Idea Cellular. This penalty is for not giving interconnection to Reliance Jio.
A group of Justice C Hari Shankar and Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal demanded for view of DoT after the court was informed that the suggestion of the TRAI was under evaluation of the department. The issue was posted for hearing on November 21, 2016.
The DoT, symbolized by Sanjay Jain, the Additional Solicitor General, and Manish Mohan, the central government standing counsel, claimed that it was evaluating the initial suggestion of TRAI. They also claimed that they were reconsidering the opinion ordered by the telecom regulator after the issue was remanded back. The justice bench was listening to Idea’s plea testing the October 21, 2016 suggestion of TRAI for applying a punishment of Rs 50 Crore each circle summing up to Rs 950 Crore for a total of 19 circles overall.
Telecom giants Vodafone and Airtel have also opposed the suggestion since it suggests applying an analogous punishment of Rs 50 Crore each circle on them as well. For them, the overall amount sums to Rs 1,050 Crore each for their total 21 circles. Idea has also shifted an application for modifying its plea. TRAI this week also ruled out any instant obligation of least floor cost for data and voice services. The regulator took this decision saying that the telecom sector has reached an agreement that it is not a feasible plan.
The move came after R S Sharma, Chairman of TRAI, along with superior regulatory administrators had a meeting with representatives of all telecom firms for a thorough discussion on the problem. “Most of the operators, previous month, had lifted the problem of fixing floor cost for services in telecom sector. We had a thorough discussion this week and there is an agreement that, for time being, we do not require to chase the thought of floor cost,” Sharma said to the media after the meeting.