Bharti moves TDSAT against DoT penalty on subs verification
New Delhi: Two Bharti group firms on Monday approached telecom tribunal TDSAT against penalties imposed on them by the government for North-East and Assam circles over alleged violation of new subscriber verification norms.
They have requested the tribunal to restrain the Department of Telecom from imposing penalty on the basis of joint audit reports of the subscriber carried in the circles.
A TDSAT bench, headed by its Chairman Justice S B Sinha, issued notices to DoT directing it to file replies on their plea and not take any coercive action against the companies.
Bharti Airtel and Bharti Hexacom have requested TDSAT to "quash and set aside the demand notices" issued by DoT over the alleged violations of the new subscriber verification norms laid down by the DoT on July 20, 2010 for Assam and North East circles.
According to them, they were "expecting further penalties based on the joint audit reports, without DoT clarifying the ambiguities".
They also contended that DoT has even applied an incorrect graded scale for calculating the penalty.
The two further alleged that DoT is "even imposing penalty on grant of recharge between January 19, 2011 and March 31, 2011 to subscribers reverified by them on basis of instructions dated September 30, 2009, though the said process was revalidated in Circular dated March 31, 2011".
According to them, they have already paid certain penalties demanded by DoT.
Bharti group firms along with other operators have already challenged the DoT circular on subscriber verification and subsequent penalties imposed on them.
DoT had said that certificates by Village Panchayat Head or its equivalent authority as well as caste and domicile certificates with photographs provided by state governments were not treated as ID proof.
Moreover, voters identity cards issued before 2008 were also kept outside the list.
On February 28, passing an interim order the tribunal had directed the operators to pay full penalty expect for certain categories imposed by DoT for incomplete and faulty customer details of post-paid customers in the Assam and North-East circles.
However, the TDSAT had said that operators would have to pay only 25 percent of the penalty on connections activated between July 20, 2010 and March 31, 2011 on the basis of photo identity issued by Village Panchayats and Caste and Domicile certificate by the state governments.