New Delhi: Telecom tribunal TDSAT Wednseday stayed the penalty imposed by the Department of Telecom (DoT) on Bharti Airtel and asked it not to take any coercive action against the company for not disconnecting subscribers with faulty customer details.
Passing an interim order, TDSAT stayed 'demand notes' of Rs 36.94 crore issued by DoT, imposing penalty on Airtel for allegedly not disconnecting mobile connections with faulty customer details.
"The respondents (DoT) are directed not to take any coercive steps (against) the petitioner (Airtel)," said the TDSAT bench headed by Justice S B Sinha.
On April 3, DoT had imposed additional penalty of Rs 36.94 crore on Bharti Airtel for not disconnecting the mobile connections allegedly having faulty customer application forms (CAFs).
Earlier, DoT had imposed a penalty of Rs 111.25 crore after its Telecom Enforcement Resource and Monitoring (TERM) Cells found 'faulty CAFs' in March, April & July of 2011.
The penalty was challenged by Bharti Airtel before TDSAT, which had asked the operator to pay 25 percent of the sum, while passing an interim order in February.
"DoT has originally imposed a penalty for the months of March, April & July 2011, totalling Rs 111 crore, which is impugned by Airtel vide Petition No. 27 of 2012.
"And now vide the order of April 3, 2012, another penalty is being imposed on totally unsustainable and arbitrary grounds which tantamount to penalty on penalty, which is illegal," Bharti Airtel had said in its petition.
The matter is still pending before the tribunal for final adjudication.
Bharti Airtel termed the additional Rs 36.94 crore demand for not disconnecting connections as "penalty on penalty" and "illegal" and requested the tribunal to quash it.
"While the dispute regarding rejection of these customer application forms (CAFs) itself is pending adjudication before this tribunal, there is no justification whatsoever for further penalising the Petitioner for not disconnecting these mobile connections and/or taking any other action in that regard," said Bharti Airtel.