Telecom disputes can be handled by consumer court: DoT
New Delhi: Providing relief to telecom customers, DoT Tuesday said consumer courts have jurisdiction over disputes with operators.
"The District Consumer Forums are competent to deal with the disputes between individual telecom consumers and telecom service providers," the Department of Telecom said in an official memorandum.
At present, consumers have to follow a cumbersome process to resolve disputes with telecom firms. They have to go through facilities set-up by their operator starting with registering complaints with call centre, then approaching the nodal officer and finally going up to Appellate Authority.
Though complaints should be handled as per the guidelines issued by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, the process remains largely inclined towards the service provider.
DoT said that references are often received by telecom consumers agitated over the ousting of their cases on the ground that a Supreme Court judgement of 2009 had barred seeking remedy under Consumer Protection Act said that special remedy is provided under Indian Telegraph Act.
DoT said that it has examined the matter which was a dispute involving the department as a service provider prior to hiving off telecom service under separate company as BSNL.
"Since DoT was also the telegraph authority, reference was made by Hon'ble Supreme Court to the provision of section 7B. However, powers of the telegraph authority have neither been vested nor are available to private telecom service providers and BSNL," the memorandum said.
"Therefore, recourse to section 7B in case of disputes between consumers and private service providers and BSNL would not be available," it said.
DoT said it has sent this position before Department of Consumer Affairs, Chief Secretaries and Administrators of State and Union Territories for taking up the matter with various consumer courts.