Justice B.C. Patel is a retired chief justice of Delhi and the J&K high courts. The former chief justice seeks a fine of Rs.9900-crore from the three telecom giants in the nation. These are Aitel, Vodafone and Idea. He has decided to slap this hefty fine due to the collective and large-scale violations of licensing terms and conditions.
In a letter to the Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha as well as Comptroller and Auditor General Shashi Kant Sharma, the former judge says that he has read all about the misbehaviour of the alleged telecom leaders against the new entrant, Reliance Jio.
The letter says, “Having studied this matter in detail, I am convinced that there is a clear case of anti-customer and anti-competitive actions being taken by these operators, which must be stopped at all cost.”
The letter explained that the operators were not providing sufficient interconnection points. As a result, over 75 percent of the total calls made from the amateur operators network to their network failed.
He might be a retired judge but his letter is at par with every other citizen’s plea. It has no special privileges which empower it to be fit for consideration. It is just an opinion, does not matter how learned the person is who sent it.
Justice Patel could not be contacted for a comment. Airtel, Idea and Vodafone have also not commented on the issue.
Justice Patel further added that incumbent operators are also not allowing mobile number portability to their customers who wish to change their carriers.
After a careful examination of the various licensing terms and conditions along with quality parameters, the former chief justice seeks a fine of Rs.3300-crore on all the three above-mentioned operators.
“In my opinion, this is a clear case of continuing violation of the licence terms and even if they were to stop this now, they would still be liable for this penalty for violations already committed so far.”
The letter also suggested that the amount collected shall be put into a Consumer Welfare Fund to promote awareness among the consumers of their rights.
Lately, Jio has been busy fighting off Airtel, Idea and Vodafone for points of interconnection as well as portability. However, the accused claim that these points have been enhanced and are now adequate. On the other hand, Jio claims that its customers are still facing 12 crore failed call attempts every day.