TDSAT rejects pleas challenging jurisdiction over RInfra case

Last Updated: Tuesday, April 10, 2012 - 18:47

New Delhi: TDSAT Tuesday rejected the pleas of Etisalat DB and S Tel that questioned the telecom tribunal's jurisdiction over Anil Ambani group firm RInfra, which is claiming Rs 1,500 crore dues from the two telecom operators.

A TDSAT bench headed by its Chairman Justice S B Sinha said that that the tribunal has jurisdiction to decide the Rs 1,500 crore claims made by RInfra, a subsidiary of Reliance Communications.

Both Etisalat DB and S-Tel had entered into an agreement with the RInfra for sharing telecom infrastructure on a 10-year lease in 2009.

However, following the recent Supreme Court decision canceling the licences of S Tel and Etisalat along with other new entrants, RInfra moved the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) for recovery of its alleged dues.

TDSAT also directed Chennai-based operator S Tel not to dispose off its assets to a third party without permission, till the course of hearing.

S-Tel had got spectrum for six circles. Bahrain Telecommunications, which held stake in S Tel, has decided to quit the joint venture following the apex court verdict.

The tribunal further said that it was not passing order in the Etisalat DB matter as the Delhi High Court has already passed a similar order in this regard against the operator.

"We are restraining (S Tel) from transferring its property to a third party," said the tribunal while passing interim order.

The TDSAT has directed to list the matter after two weeks for further hearing.

TDSAT's directions came over a batch of petitions filed by RInfra, against Etisalat DB and S Tel, claiming Rs 1,500 crore due over use of its telecom infrastructure.

During the proceedings, Etisalat and S Tel had questioned TDSAT's jurisdiction to decide on RInfra's plea contending that Anil Ambani group firm was not a licencee and within definition assigned under the TRAI Act. According to them RInfra had IP-1 registration only and not a service provider.

They had further contended that jurisdiction for such a petition lies with a civil court and not with TDSAT.

IP-I registration is for infrastructure providing firm for leasing assets such as Dark Fibre, Right of Way, Duct space and Tower etc.


First Published: Tuesday, April 10, 2012 - 18:41

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