Decided on June 23,2003

Stephen George Appellant
UNION OF INDIA Respondents


- (1.) Does the impugned revision of tariff, which fixes the pulse rate at sixty seconds for a call from landline phone to a mobile phone, violate Art.14 and 19 of the Constitution And (ii) Is the revision calculated to help the private provider of service and thus, malafide These are the basic issues that arise in the two writ petitions. The petitioners in these two cases are Members of the Kerala Legislative Assembly. They question the validity of the notifications issued by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India and the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited. The counsel have referred to the averments in O.P.No. 15016 of 2003. These may be briefly noticed.
(2.) The petitioners allege that the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (hereinafter referred to as the Nigam) has the monopoly in providing telephone services in the country. Initially, the service was being provided by the Central Government through the Department of Telecommunications. In pursuance to the policy of liberalisation, the Government "surrendered even the basic service industries to the private sector". The Nigam was formed as a Corporation. It continues to be under the control of the Central Government. The telephones are installed under the provisions of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885. Under S.6(a), the power to fix the rates was vested in the Central Government.
(3.) In the year 1997, the Telephone Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997, was promulgated under S.3 of the Act, a provision for the establishment and incorporation of the 'Authority' has been made. S.11 provides for the functions of the Authority.;

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