DoT opposes Loops petition in apex court

Written by feBureau | New Delhi | Updated: Apr 6 2013, 08:15am hrs
The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) on Friday opposed Loop Telecom's stand in the Supreme Court against its notices on spectrum user charges (SUC) and other penalties, contending the issue was completely commercial and independent of the court order on cancelling the licences.

The affidavit has come in response to Loop's plea accusing the department for hounding and harassing it with illogical penalty for wrapping up its mobile phone services honouring the Supreme Court's judgment cancelling 2G spectrum licences.

Loop had earlier told the Supreme Court that in compliance with its February 2, 2012 judgment of cancelling licences but permitting holders to continue till auction of cancelled spectrum, the company had decided to wind up operations.

The operator was faced with penalties amounting to R1,100 crore for alleged violation of license conditions. In its response to Loop's application before a bench led by Justice GS Singhvi, the DoT, however, claimed that the company ought to approach TDSAT since the contentious issue arose out of licensee-licensor relationship, completely based on terms and conditions independent of the court judgement. It said an application before the SC was not the appropriate remedy since the impugned notice provided a different and substantial cause of action.

The subject matter of the show-cause notice is in the nature of a commercial dispute, which needs to be resolved elsewhere in accordance with law. Under Trai, the TDSAT has been established to adjudicate, inter alia, any dispute between a licensor and a licensee. It is respectfully submitted that the present application is misconceived, stated the affidavit filed by MF Farooqui, secretary, DoT.

DoT added that the notice proposed to impose certain penalties on Loop for breach of license conditions, including failure to meet its roll-out obligations during the operation of the license.

The Hon'ble court did not intend that if there were breaches of the terms and conditions of the license during the period when it was operated, the DoT shall not issue any show-cause notice for the alleged breaches to the licensee, stated the affidavit.