Libertatem Magazine

TDSAT: Penalty upto Rs. 2 Lakh can be imposed for willful failure to comply with orders of Appellate Tribunal

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Brief Facts of the Case

The petitioner filed the present suit before Telecom Disputes Settlement & Appellate Tribunal against the respondent on the ground that disconnection of supply of signals affected by the respondent MSO was without proper notice of 21 days contending the disconnection effected on 10.3.2019  to be illegal and unlawful. The court passed an interim order dated 18.3.2019, to resume the supply of signals however; the supply of signals was not resumed although reminders were sent through various emails and letters. It is the further case that even after the final order was passed by the Tribunal on 24.4.2019, the petitioner’s network was not activated and complaints made to the respondents had no effect. The petitioner received a disconnection notice sent by the respondent on24.6.2019 for non-payment of subscription fees for the period up to June 2019, on the basis of alleged subscription agreement dated 11.5.2019 to which the petitioner denied and stated that there was no resumption of supply of signals since 40.3.2015 nor there was any new agreement signed between the parties thereafter.

Arguments presented by the Parties

The respondent filed a reply to the suit on 25.9.2019 stating that the present application has been filed after an unexplained delay of about three and half months only to harass and malign the respondent. The respondent argued that Mr Shiv Kumar Verma as a representative of the petitioner approached the respondent through a letter dated 5.5.2019 which disclosed that Naveen Sharma, the proprietor of the Applicant was his partner and had been absconding due to filing of a criminal case and has requested for issuance of an alternate Login ID and Password and claimed that the respondent accepted the request of Shiv Kumar Verma treating the same as a request of the petitioner. According to the respondent, this trick has been played to deny the liability to pay for the dues mentioned in the subsequent disconnection notice. The respondent further prayed to dismiss the application with costs and to direct the petitioner to pay the subscription dues as given in the notice along with interest.

Decision of the Court

The respondent is directed to pay a penalty of Rs.20,000/- (Rupees Twenty thousand only)  to the registry under section 20 of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRA) Act, 1997 Act for disobedience to comply with the degree of interim order passed by the Appellate Tribunal as the arguments presented by the respondent were vague and were not proved to be true.  In addition to this,  the respondent was directed to pay to the Applicant a sum of Rs.80,000/- (Rupees Eighty Thousand only) by way of compensation for the wrongs done to him along with interest @ 10% per annum from the date of this order till date of ‘realization.

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