Strengthening of Regulators
With the entry of private sector in the provision of telecommunication services a need was felt to have an independent regulatory body. The above requirement was indicated in the guidelines issued for entry of private sector in basic telecom service. Accordingly, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) was established in the year 1997 in pursuance of TRAI (Ordinance) 1997, which was later replaced by an Act of Parliament, to regulate the telecommunication services. Some of the major recommendatory, regulatory and tariff setting functions of TRAI are to make recommendations on the need and timing for introduction of new service provider, on the terms and conditions of license to a service provider, ensure compliance of terms and conditions of license, effective management of spectrum, lay down the standards of quality of service to be provided by the service providers and ensure the quality of service and conduct the periodical survey of such service provided by the service providers so as to protect interest of the consumers of telecommunication service, ensure effective compliance of Universal Service Obligations, notify the rates at which telecommunication services within India and outside India shall be provided under this Act etc.
In exercise of powers conferred by proviso (k) to sub-section (1) of Section 2 of the TRAI Act, the Central Government, vide Notification No. SO 44(E) dated 9th January, 2004, has notified broadcasting and cable services to be telecommunication service.
The TRAI (Amendment) Act, 2000 had led to reconstitution of the Authority. It consists of one Chairperson, two full-time members and two part-time members. The present composition of the Authority is as follows
|Sh. R. S. Sharma||Chairperson|
|Sh. Anil Kaushal||Whole -time Member|
|Sh. H Pradeep Rao||Whole -time Member|
|Dr. M. Jagadesh Kumar||Part-time Member|
Telecom Dispute Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) http://www.tdsat.nic.in
An Appellate Tribunal, known as Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT), was established by the Central Government in May, 2000 to adjudicate any dispute between a licensor and a licensee; between two or more service providers; between a service provider and a group of consumers; and to hear and dispose of appeal against any direction, decision or order of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India. The Tribunal, therefore, exercise both original and appellate jurisdiction.
An appeal has been provided against the final order of the Appellate Tribunal to the Supreme Court under Section 18 of the Act. However, there is no appeal against the interlocutory orders of the Appellate Tribunal to the Supreme Court.
Section 14-B (1) of the Act, 1997, lays down that the Appellate Tribunal shall consist of a Chairperson and not more than two Members to be appointed, by Notification, by Central Government.
The present composition of TDSAT is as follows:-
Sh. Justice(retd.) Shiva Kirti Singh
|Sh. A K Bhargava||Member|
|Sh. Bipin Bihari Srivastava||Member|
Broadly, the issues involved in cases filed before the Appellate Tribunal relate to interconnection, challenging the basis of computation of license fee by the licensor, wrongful levy and charge of royalty and license fee for frequency allocation, blocking of calls by one group of service providers, disputes relating to default traffic, challenges to tariff fixed by TRAI, encashment of bank guarantees, disputes between broadcasters etc.