New Delhi: Telecom operators are not liable to compensate the loss suffered by subscribers due to call drops as per the regulations of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, the Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday.
A bench of Justices Kurian Joseph and Rohinton Nariman said that it would exhort Parliament to frame such rules by which all subordinate legislation is subject to a transparent process by which due consultations with all stakeholders are held, and the rule or regulation making power is exercised after due consideration of all stakeholders.
The bench held that the impugned regulation does not carry out the purpose of the Act and must be held to be ultra vires on this score. “We are afraid that the orderly growth of the telecom sector cannot be ensured or promoted by a manifestly arbitrary or unreasonable regulation which makes a service provider pay a penalty without it being necessarily at fault.”
“We were also told that huge profits were made by the service providers, and that the amount they would have to pay would not even be a flea bite compared to the profits they make, view-ed in the background that they are not investing in infrastructure. Whether they make profits or losses cannot be said to be relevant for determining whether the impugned regulation is otherwise arbitrary or unreasonable.”