New Delhi: Telecom tribunal TDSAT Friday set aside Rs 50 crore penalty imposed by DoT on Bharti Airtel and Tata Communications on charges of violation of international long distance licence norms while providing private lease circuits to SingTel.
"We are of the opinion that interest of justice would be sub-served if the petitioners are not allowed an opportunity of being heard ... These petitions are allowed. The impugned orders are set aside with the aforementioned observations," a TDSAT bench headed by Chairman Justice S B Sinha observed.
The tribunal further observed that while imposing penalty, "no reason has been assigned in support of the said order. How and in what manner, the provisions of the conditions of licence are said to have been violated have not been stated" by the the Department of Telecom (DoT).
On November 11, 2011, DoT had slapped Rs 50 crore penalty on Bharti Airtel and Tata Communications for providing international private lease circuits to foreign company SingTel, allegedly violating the terms and conditions of International Long Distance (ILD) licence.
It was challenged by both the firms before the tribunal.
DoT had set up a committee to examine and suggest the amount of penalty to be imposed on Tata and Bharti for violating the ILD licence norms.
As per the licensing norms, Indian ILD operators are authorised to provide Indian circuits to a foreign carrier (like SingTel in this case) so that they are able to provide end-to-end services to their customers in their territories.
The committee found, from submissions made by Bharti, that the company had raised the invoice to SingTel at its Singapore address for the portion of circuit provided by Bharti Airtel.