Tribunal dismisses S-Tel plea challenging TRAI direction
New Delhi: TDSAT has dismissed the plea of telecom operator S-Tel challenging directions of TRAI to continue services and maintain its network till the time its licences are operational.
A TDSAT bench, headed by its Chairman Justice S B Sinha, has said that although the Supreme Court has cancelled S-Tel's
Licences in February 2 this year, but it does not mean that the firm would ignore its obligations as their licences are still operational.
"It is therefore, not correct to contend that despite a clear direction issued by the Supreme Court of India, the Appellant (S-Tel) could have ignored its legal obligations," said the tribunal," said the TDSAT while dismissing S-Tel's petition.
S-Tel had bagged 2G licences in January 2008 in six circles.
The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) has said that S-Tel would have to follow the TRAI's regulation as a part of obligations of its licences.
"The contractual obligations of the licencee were required to be carried out in terms of the extant laws which would include the regulations framed by the TRAI," said TDSAT.
The Supreme Court had in February this year held that the process of allocating 122 2G licences given to different telecom companies were 'arbitrary and unconstitutional' and had canceled all of them. Later, it allowed telecom companies -- which were affected by the February order -- to continue operations until January, 2013.
TRAI had on April 11, 2012 directed S-Tel, among others, to comply with guidelines and continue providing services till licenses are operational. It also asked it to furnish a compliance report on the same.
"...Comply with all the provisions of the unified access service licence, ensure connectivity of service to its subscribers and maintain the quality of service till licence is operational," TRAI had said in its directions.
This was challenged by S-Tel before the TDSAT.
However, this was opposed by TRAI through its counsel Saket Singh who contended that S-Tel can not absolve itself from its contractual obligations.
Moreover, Singh further said that as per regulations a operator is required to give mandatory 60 days notice to the authorities and 30 days to its consumer, which was allegedly not followed by S-Tel.