New Delhi: The Delhi High Court Friday did not lift the stay on a 2013 circular issued by state-owned BSNL asking private telecom companies to furnish bank guarantees to secure the differential amount in billing of port and interconnection charges to be levied on telecom firms.
Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) had on February 8, 2013, issued a circular dealing with the billing of various charges, including the port and interconnection charges, to be levied on private telecom operators by BSNL for allowing them access to various infrastructural and other facilities.
As there was a huge difference between the charges, which BSNL wanted to levy on private telecom operators, and the rates fixed by Telecommunication Interconnection (Port Charges) (Second Amendment) Regulations, the PSU firm issued the circular asking telecom firms to furnish bank guarantees for the differential amount.
A bench headed by Chief Justice D Murugesan disposed of appeals and cross-appeals filed by Association of Unified Telecom Services (AUTS) and Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) and BSNL on the issue and did not lift the stay on the circular.
It rather said a single judge will decide the matter.
"In our view, the submissions of the parties are best to be adjudicated before the single judge as the main writ petition is pending," it said.
The bench, while referring the matters back to the single judge, however, modified some aspects of the order.
"The petitioners (AUTS and COAI) shall file an undertaking in the form of an affidavit of their Chief Executive Officer that they undertake to pay the differential amount in case they are called to pay if their challenge to the impugned order fails.
"They will also undertake that the amount mentioned will be paid by the said petitioners with an appropriate rate of interest as may be determined by the court at the time of final adjudication," the bench said.