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Centre to contest WiLL file order

New Delhi, April 9: The government will move the Supreme Court against the order of Telecom Dispute Settlement Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) directing the department of telecommunications (DoT) to furnish all documents relating to the decision to allow limited mobility services based on wireless in local loop (WiLL).

The government is expected to file the case by next week. On Monday, the TDSAT had asked DoT to furnish the files and had struck down the government’s contentions that it had the privilege on certain internal documents for not making them public related to WiLL services.

Appearing on behalf of the government, solicitor general Kirit Raval said: “We have no objection in showing any file to TDSAT. However, we cannot show files to business rivals. We have decided to appeal in the Supreme Court against the tribunal’s order. We will appeal as soon as the formalities of discussing with the government officials are completed.”

Meanwhile, TDSAT has fixed April 23 for giving further directions. Industry observers, who are also party to the ongoing case at TDSAT, said, “There will be some more delay in the case, and this is not good for the consumers.”

Commenting on the development, counsel for cellular operators Gopal Jain said: “The government can technically file in the Supreme Court a petition against the order between Wednesday and April 23. If they do not get a stay in the court, the matter will proceed before TDSAT. The tribunal will give future direction on April 23.”

The hearing was earlier slated to be completed by April 9 in the tribunal since the government, basic operators and public interest litigations were to be heard on April 7, 8 and 9.

Counsel for both cellular and basic private operators said it was imperative that the documents relevant to the dispute between the licensor and licensee should be placed before the tribunal for it to make its own assessment of the case.

They also pointed that the government was bound by law to present the files when it has mentioned that the decision to allow limited mobility was taken based on the consultations with the industry and the regulator.

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