FE Editorial : Ringing out justice
Like all courts of law, TDSAT also functions on the basis of majority rules. So when GD Gaiha’s term at TDSAT came to an end in July 2011, the appellate tribunal pretty much became redundant. Sure, its judgments would be relevant if the remaining two members—PK Rastogi and Chairman Justice SB Sinha—ruled the same way, but if they didn’t, the judgments meant little. Which is precisely what happened in the 3G intra-circle roaming case where the telecom ministry argued telcos were breaching the law by offering such services. While Justice SB Sinha, the only judicial member of TDSAT, ruled against the government, PK Rastogi ruled in favour of the government. As a result, the split verdict amounted to a non-verdict. The government decided the split-verdict gave it carte blanche to terminate the intra-circle roaming, it issued the necessary termination notices, which the telcos then got stays from the high court. Similarly, in the case of charging a one-time spectrum fee from telcos, while Vodafone got a stay from TDSAT (both Sinha and Rastogi ruled the same way), Bharti Airtel, Idea and Reliance Communication took
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