Vacancy in telecom watchdog TDSAT: HC seeks reply from Centre
New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday asked the Centre to appraise it of the steps taken to fill a vacancy in the three-member bench of telecom watchdog TDSAT.
The court sought the information in wake of TDSAT's recent split verdict on a plea, which alleged that private firms have been violating license terms by entering into 3G inter-circle roaming (ICR) pacts. The verdict proved indecisive because it was delivered by TDSAT with only two members, the third seat being vacant.
A bench of Acting Chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw asked the government to give it the information on September 5, the next date of hearing.
The court gave its order while hearing a petition filed by lawyer Yakesh Anand seeking to restrain the private telecom service providers from sharing 3G network in the circles where they were not allotted the 3G spectrum and had the licence for the 2G network only.
It has been alleged that operators like Bharti, Vodafone and Idea had entered into pact with one another to offer 3G mobile services in circles in which they had not succeeded in getting the spectrum, for which the auction was held in 2010.
The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) had given a split verdict earlier in the case with its chairman Justice S B Sinha allowing the operators' plea against the government order to stop the service, while its member P K Rastogi dismissed it.
The Department of Telecommunication (DoT), on December 23, last year, had issued notices to the private firms saying their 3G roaming pacts among service providers were illegal.
The DoT had asked Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular, Tata Teleservices and Aircel to stop their inter-circle roaming on 3G bandwidth within 24 hours.
The telecom firms had moved the TDSAT against the order.