The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Cell firms upbeat on court move

New Delhi, Nov. 10: The Supreme Court today admitted for hearing a petition of the Cellular Operators Association Of India (COAI) challenging an order of TDSAT allowing WiLL services to basic telecom operators in the country. However, the Supreme Court declined to grant them any stay on limited mobility services.

A three-judge bench comprising justices S. Rajendra Babu, A. R. Lakshmanan and G. P. Mathur also issued notices to the Centre on the interim prayer of the petitioners seeking stay of the service.

COAI director-general T. V. Ramachandran said, “It is an encouraging indication since now the Supreme Court will hear our plea. We do not wish to comment further since the matter is subjudice.”

COAI pleaded that the TDSAT order infringed the National Telecom Policy, 1999 and their service agreement entered into with the government.

The association also asked for a direction to the Centre restraining it from permitting limited mobility and directing WiLL operators not to make handsets functional and preventing third-party rights.

COAI, in its petition, has raised questions of law as to “whether WiLL, now found permissible by the majority judgement, is in effect a permission to provide cellular mobile services and therefore, contrary to the National Telecom Policy, 1999”.

The bench has also issued notices to several telecom operators who have been made parties to the petition, including Reliance and Association of Basic Telecom Operators.

The appeal is likely to be taken up for hearing after a few weeks when certain procedural formalities are completed by the cellular operators.

ABTO secretary-general S. C. Khanna said, “The Supreme Court has declined to grant any stay on limited mobility services. This means that subscribers of these services all over the country, including those of Reliance and Tata, can continue to avail of world-class telecom facilities without any interruption.”

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