Anonymous
Asked December 29, 2016

Compensation for Call Drop

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The Delhi HC ordered that people must be compensated for call drops by the Operator. On what ground has it been challenged in the Supreme Court?

Answer 1

The High Court’s in Cellular Operators Association of India and Ors. v. Telecom Regulatory Authority of India and Ors. (W.P.(C) No.11596/2015) ruling regarding compensation to be provided for call drops has been overruled by the Supreme Court. After the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had drawn upon a rule which provided that a mandatory compensation was to be paid by telecom service providers to subscribers for call drops, it was challenged before the High Court for the sheer arbitrariness of the regulation. The High Court, however, ruled in favour of TRAI. The matter was moved to the Supreme Court by the Telecom Providers in Cellular Operators Association of India and Ors. v. Telecom Regulatory Authority of India and Ors. (CIVIL APPEAL NO. 5017 & 5018 OF 2016)

The Telecom Providers contended that call drops cannot always be placed within the purview of their control and sometimes occurred for reasons which are unavoidable. Thus, accounting for the reasons behind every call drop is a Herculean task and it is impossible to pin point the exact cause for call drops in many cases.

The Telecom industries further provided that they were already incurring huge debts due to steep prices for purchasing spectrums. Imposing such compensatory schemes would only add to the monetary burden that the telecom industries are already buried under. They further questioned the authority of the Chairman of TRAI to levy such penalties.

The Supreme Court ruled the directive as unconstitutional and arbitrary. However, the Supreme Court provided that, it was within the power of the Parliament to make and enact such compensatory measures.

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