DoT seeks legal advice on TDSAT split verdict

DoT seeks legal advice on TDSAT split verdict

The Department of Telecom (DoT) has sought legal opinion on whether to implement the split verdict of telecom tribunal Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) on validity of mobile phone operators offering 3G services beyond their licence areas under roaming pacts.

 Immediately after the verdict was given by TDSAT, a senior DoT official wrote to Additional Solicitor General A S Chandhiok seeking his opinion on the legal position with respect to applicability of the order of the tribunal.

The two members of the tribunal bench differed with each other. The split verdict came on a petition filed by mobile phone companies challenging government order and asking them to stop offering 3G services beyond their licensed circles or zones under mutual roaming agreements.

 The two-member bench comprising TDSAT Chairman Justice S B Sinha and member P K Rastogi differed in their findings.

 While Justice Sinha allowed operators' plea against the government’s directive to stop intra-circle 3G roaming saying it was violating natural justice, Rastogi dismissed the petition saying they cannot provide roaming.

Procedure not followed

 The chairman was of the view that DoT had not followed proper procedure, and operators were not given proper time to put their views, but Rastogi dismissed the appeal saying that they can't provide 3G services by having mere 2G licence.

 The spilt verdict left the DoT in a difficult position and it wanted to know the legal position in respect of implementation of 1:1 order of TDSAT.

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