Decided on November 03,2004



- (1.)BY this order we are deciding Appeal No.10 of 2001 filed by Bharat Sanchar Nigam and also the inter-related Appeal No.11 of 2001 filed by Association of Basic Telecom Operators and Others.
(2.)Appeal No.10 of 2001 has been filed by Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and seeks the quashing and setting aside of the determination/decision of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) dated 3/7/2001 as well as the Telecom Tariff (15th Amendment) Order, 2001 (5 of 2001) dated 20.7. 2001, also issued by TRAI.
At the admission stage of this Appeal, stay order was given on 19-7-2001 as follows

"Issue notice. Counsel for the Respondents accept notice. Reply on behalf of the Respondents to be filed within three weeks. Rejoinder, if any, on behalf of the Appellant be filed within two weeks thereafter. Status quo be maintained in the mean time.

Mr. Gopal Subramaniam, Senior Advocate, appearing on behalf of the COAI, has suggested that we should put the Appellant on terms. We see no reason to do so at this stage and this can be decided at the time of final hearing of the case. We can always address this point if we find that any damage has been suffered by the Respondents.

The Appeal is adjourned to 11th September is 2001.

In view of the above M.A.No.29 of 2001 praying for ad-interim order stands disposed of."

Appeal No.11 of 2001 has been filed by the Association of Basic Telecom Operators and others with the prayer that the Telecom Tariff (15th Amendment) order 2001 (5 of 2001) dated 20.7.2001 issued by TRAI be made effective from 25.12001 and further that BSNL be directed to forthwith refund to the private basic service operators all amounts in excess of the amounts due and payable under the TRAI determination of 03/7/2001 within a period of 4 weeks together with interest @ 18% per annum with effect from 26/01/2001 till the date of payment.

(3.)THE Appellant BSNL has been a leading basic telecom service provider in the country providing basic and long distance telecommunication services through its vast countrywide network. BSNL issued a Tariff Circular No.3-5/2000-R & C(Pt) dated 29/12/2000 whereby it prescribed concessional rates for STD calls within a circle, originated by the telephone subscribers of BSNL for terminating in the basic services network, for distance categories falling within 50 to 200 kms. THEse rates were lower than what had been specified by TRAI in the standard tariff package for Basic Services in the Telecommunications Tariff Order 1999 (TTO '99). THE relevant portion of the Tariff Circular of BSNL reads as under:
"With a view to promote community of interest, BSNL proposes to offer the following concessional pulse rates for the intra circle calls (i.e. calls originating and terminating within the same circle) originated by telephone subscribers of BSNL and terminating in the basic services network.


THEse changes in pulses were announced to become effective from 26.01.01.

BSNL issued another Tariff Circular bearing the same reference and date as the previous one i.e. No.3-5/2000-R & C(Pt) dated 29/12/2000 / 12.1.2001 reiterating the contents of the earlier circular but adding the following in the Note:

"3. Charging and Revenue sharing arrangement with Basic Service Operators will be on the standard rate as is being charged presently."

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