SC admits BSNLs plea

Written by Indu Bhan | Indu Bhan | New Delhi | Updated: Jul 3 2012, 08:00am hrs
The Supreme Court on Monday admitted state-owned BSNL's appeal against telecom tribunal TDSAT's order that restrained it from charging higher carriage charges of 65 paise a minute until sectoral regulator Trai framed new rules or the Supreme Court passed an order in this matter.

A bench headed by Justice GS Singhvi also issued notice to Trai, private telecom operators - Reliance Communication, Tata Teleservices and Sistema Shyam Teleservices - on an appeal filed by BSNL alleging that the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal's January judgment is inconsistent with its previous orders of September 29, 2010 and May 13, 2011.

It said that the tribunal by its Spetmeber 2010 order had allowed various pleas filed by the telecos challenging the Telecommunication Interconnection Usage Charges (10th Amendment) 2009 Regulations, which were were notified by Trai in March 2009. "As a consequence of the Regulations, the ceiling on the carriage of domestic long distance calls was retained at 65 paise per miniute. However, the regulations reduced both the carriage charges as well as the transit charges from 20 paise to 15 paise per minute, respectively," the PSU stated, adding that the 2009 regulations were set aside by the TDSAT on the ground that the ceiling of 65 paise per minute had been fixed towards carriage charges both in respect of high traffic urban areas as also the low tariff rural, remote and hilly areas.

"The judgment dated September 29, 2010 remanding the matter and directing Trai to consider the matter afresh clearly shows that TDST has reversed/set aside the IUC Regulations 2009 qua fixing of Re 0.15 paisa for intra-circle IUC charges...", the appeal filed through counsel Sumit Attri stated.

It also added that 2006 Regulations would automatically come into force once the 2009 Regulations were set aside to ensure that no vacuum is created for recovery of carriage charges.