BHARAT SANCHAR NIGAM LIMITED Vs. TELECOM REGULATORY AUTHORITY OF INDIA
LAWS(TD)-2004-4-1
TELECOM DISPUTES SETTLEMENT AND APPELLATE TRIBUNAL
Decided on April 21,2004

Appellant
VERSUS
Respondents

JUDGEMENT

- (1.)THE appellant Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (BSNL), a service provider, within the meaning of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997 (for short Act) has challenged the communication dated 31st December, 2003 of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). Challenge to the communication is on the ground that it is without any jurisdiction and is against the provisions of Act.
(2.)It will be appropriate at this stage to set out the communication subject matter of challenge:
"TELECOM REGULATORY AUTHORITY OF INDIA A-2/14, SAFDARJUNG ENCLAVE, NEW DELHI-110 029 E-mail:trai@del2.vsnl.net.in Fax:91-11-26103294

No.101-17/2003-MN(Pt.IV) Dated: December 31, 2003

To

All Operators

Subject: Direction under Section 13 of the TRAI Act 1997 (as amended by TRAI Amendment Act 2000) regarding disconnection of POIs on account of settlement related disputes.

1. Instances have been brought to the notice of the Authority that some of the operators have resorted to disconnection of the POIs due to the reason of non-settlement of IUC payments and also for some other reasons.

2. Disconnection of POIs is not desirable in view of the inconvenience caused to the subscribers of the networks of both the interconnecting operators. The dispute between two operators in the matter should be resolved through mutual agreement. In case of failure in arriving at mutual agreement, the operator who wishes to disconnect the POIs should give a notice for disconnection of POI with a suitable time period (not less than ten days) and a copy of the same should be given to TRAI. In case TRAI does not intervene within the stipulated time period specified in the show cause notice for disconnection of POI, the operator concerned can go ahead with the disconnection of the POI. Alternatively, the interconnecting operator may approach TRAI with full information about the dispute for determination in the matter.

The Authority in exercise of its power conferred upon it under Section 13 read with Section 11(1)(b) of the TRAI Act, in the general consumer interest directs all service providers not to terminate the interconnection arrangements or resort to disconnection of POIS and resolve the dispute through mutual agreement failing which they should adopt the procedure as given in para 2 above.

(3.)THIS issues with the approval of the Authority.
Sd/- (R.K. Bhatnagar) Advisor (MN)"

3. We are not considering in the present case, adjudication of dispute, if any, arising before the interconnection agreement.

4. The Act was amended by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Amendment) Act 2000 when Telecom Disputes Settlement & Appellate Tribunal (Appellate Tribunal) was created and its jurisdiction defined. At the same time jurisdiction of the TRAI to settle disputes between service providers was taken away. When the Act originally existed i.e. prior to this amendment by Amendment Act of 2000 the position was that TRAI had authority to decide dispute between service providers. The scheme of the constitution of the TRAI at that time itself was different. If we refer to the unamended provisions of the Act and those now existing the following position emerges.

Before amendment:



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