Delhi High Court refuses to intervene in TRAI’s Rs 1,050 crore penalty against Vodafone

Delhi High Court refused to intervene BOY OF proposed to impose a penalty of Rs. 1,050 crore over two Vodafone the companies allegedly refused to connect with Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd (RJIL) under the Connection Agreement signed between them.

The Supreme Court noted that the October 21, 2016 recommendation of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), which was opposed herein, is also being challenged before the Telecommunication Dispute Settlement and Appeals Court. (TDSAT), and the courts are expert bodies established by law to resolve disputes arising under that statute.

A bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad, in the May 24 ruling, said TDSAT has been empowered to resolve all disputes arising under the TRAI Act.

The Central Government approved an order on September 29, 2021 imposing penalties on companies that sue for violations of the terms of the license agreement and Quality of Service (QOS) regulatory standards. ) of basic (wired) telephone service and regulation of mobile phone service, 2009.

“After the arbitral tribunal concluded that the order of September 29, 2021 issued by defendant 2 (the government) was not legally sustainable, it automatically recommended October 21, 2016 are being challenged in written petitions to be immediately set aside.

“This court finds considerable strength in the arguments made by senior counsel to respondents that any observations made by this court in the immediate written petitions will have an adverse action to Telecommunication Complaints that have been filed before TDSAT,” the bench said.

The High Court handled the lawsuits filed by Vodafone Mobile Services and Vodafone idea and made it clear that it had not made any observations on the merits of the case.

“The court is always ready to decide the matter on merits, including the October 21, 2016 recommendation being challenged in immediate motions,” it said.

It also noted that TDSAT had kept its orders in place for September 2021.

On September 21, 2016, TRAI issued a recommendation stating that the petitioners were at fault for not providing Connection Points (POIs) to RJIL and proposed a penalty of Rs. 50 crore per circle for 21 Licensed Service Areas (LSAs) where POI congestion exceeds the allowable limit of 0.5 percent.

The petitioners said they asked TRAI to withdraw the recommendation, but to no avail, they then moved it up to a high court.

Vodafone challenged TRAI’s recommendation to the Minister, Ministry of Telecommunications, for criminal action, arguing that the recommendation was against the law and deserved to be removed.

TRAI opposes the petitions saying they are too early at this stage and unsustainable.

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