BSNL-Reliance row: SC to decide jurisdiction issue

New Delhi, March 28 | Updated: Mar 29 2005, 05:30am hrs
The BSNL-Reliance Infocomm tussle has moved back to the Supreme Court which on Monday stayed proceedings before the Delhi High Court hearing the petition filed by Reliance challenging BSNLs decision to impose a penalty of Rs 182.7 crore on it for alleged re-routing of international calls as local ones.

A division bench comprising Justice N Santosh Hegde and Justice SB Sinha also issued notices to Reliance Infocomm and other respondents on the BSNL petition that Telecom Disputes Settlement Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) had no jurisdiction to hear the dispute on payment.

The jurisdiction issue would now be decided by the apex court before the high court could proceed with the merit of the petition filed by Reliance Infocomm challenging the penalty.

BSNL had pleaded before the high court that it did not have the jurisdiction to decide the dispute between the two telecom operators, which rested solely with TDSAT. It had also pleaded that the high court should first decide the issue of jurisdiction before hearing the merits of the petition.

The high court had ruled it would hear the petition filed by Reliance and decide both the issues jurisdiction and the merits of the matter together.

Rejecting the plea of Reliance that it did not have money to pay BSNL, the apex court had earlier directed Reliance to pay Rs 84.7 crore to BSNL as access deficit charges (ADC) rejecting Reliances plea to allow it to furnish bank guarantee for the said amount.