Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that he will call for a meeting with telecom ministry officials and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) to discuss possible solutions on the call drops issue.
The internal meeting is likely to happen over the weekend “to see if any solution is possible”, he told a bench comprising justices Kurian Joseph and RF Nariman.
The Supreme Court had last month asked the telecom regulator whether it would reconsider its decision about penalising telecom operators for call drops because a technical paper issued by it seemed to contradict the regulation made on October 16 last year.
“Prima facie, it appears that your technical paper says that telecom companies are not responsible for call drops,” the bench had observed.
However, additional solicitor general PS Narasimha, appearing for Trai, had said the regulation was independent of the technical paper, but had agreed to hold consultations on the issue and get back to the court on the matter.
The companies had approached the Delhi High Court after the Trai regulation had mandated them to pay subscribers Rs 1 for every call drop they experience on their network, subject to a cap of three call drops a day, starting from January 1, 2016. They had termed the impugned regulation, which prescribes payment of compensation for the very first call drop, as “unconstitutional” on the ground that the same was within the exempted limit of 2% under the QoS regulation.
The impugned regulation is not a quality standard specification, but a penalty and 2% call drops are consistent with global standards, they added.
After the Delhi HC upheld Trai’s October 16 tariff order on January 26, the two industry bodies approached the Supreme Court.
The HC had said since there was no dispute about the power of Trai to make regulation under Section 36 of the (Trai) Act, the impugned regulation was made keeping in mind the paramount interest of the consumer.