Telecommunication has a significant social, cultural and economic impact on modern society. The Indian telecom network is the third largest in the world.  On the microeconomic scale, companies have used telecommunications to help build global business empires. This is self-evident in the case of online retailer Even the conventional retailer Walmart has benefited from better telecommunication infrastructure compared to its competitors. Telecommunication has had an equally significant impact on advertising. The internet which is yet another mode of telecommunication is a worldwide network of computers. Because of the economic benefits of good telecommunication infrastructure, there is increasing worry about the inequitable access to telecommunication services amongst various countries of the world- this is known as the digital divide. Many countries have enacted legislation which conforms to the International Telecommunication Regulations established by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), which is the “leading UN agency for information and communication technology issues.  The concerned Departments are: Department of Communications. The concerned Ministry is: The Ministry Of Communications & Information Technology.  

Telecom Disputes Settlement & Appellate Tribunal [TDSAT] entertains dispute between a licensor and a licensee; between two or more service providers; between a service provider and a group of consumers; and hears and disposes of appeal against any direction, decision or order of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India [TRAI]. 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. The Tribunal 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.  

Hello Counsel have significant expertise in IT and telecom laws and regulations. We deal in laws relating to telecommunication sector including Telecom Laws and Policies, Cyber Laws, Intellectual Property Rights, Dispute Settlements between operators and between service provider and a group of Consumers, Arbitration, Consumer Laws etc. 

We represent clients before the Department of Telecommunications (DOT), the STPI, and the TRAI. We have provided assistance to our clients in obtaining various telecom licenses issued by the competent authorities. We draft interconnect agreements, software supply agreements, conditional access systems agreements, software licencing agreements, service provider agreements, contracts for acquisition and supply of telecommunications equipments, and national and international long distance contracts. We also draft contracts for building networks for telecom companies.

We advise clients on the licenses and legal and regulatory issues relating to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). We also advise our clients on tax implications. We assist a spectrum of industry players, from wireline operators and equipment manufacturers to satellite network and mobile virtual network providers to digital terrestrial broadcasters and media content providers.

Vital Features Of Telecommunication

  • Licensing
  • Data Services
  • Carrier Services
  • Access Services
  • Spectrum Management
  • Independent External Monitor
  • e-Collection for WPC & WPF
  • Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF)
  • Investment Promotion
  • FDI Policy in Telecom
  • Investment Facilitation Centre
  • Telecom Equipment Manufacturing
  • Tenders
  • Restructuring cell
  • Circulars/Notifications
  • Forms

Concerned Ministry

Courts & Fora: Telecommunication

  • Supreme Court Of India
  • High Courts of various States; Supreme Court Of India
  • Telecom Disputes Settlement & Appellate Tribunal [TDSAT];
  • Telecom Regulatory Authority of India [TRAI]; 

Governing Legislations: Telecommunication

  • Indian Telegraph Act, 1885;
  • Indian Telegraph Rules, 2008;
  • Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act, 1933;
  • Information & Technology Act, 2000;
  • Telecom Regulatory Authority Of India [TRAI] Act, 1997;
  • Telecom Regulatory Appellate Authority of India (Amendment) Act, 2000.

Judgments: Telecommunication

  • Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited Vs. Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, Civil Appeal No. 5253/2010,  Judgment Dated: 06/12/2013, Bench: G.S. Singhvi, J.: B.S. Chauhan, J.: Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla, J.; Citation: 2013(12) SCR 999: 2014(3) SCC 222: 2013(15) JT 516: 2013(14) SCALE 643: 2014(1) SLT 86 [Full PDF Judgment]- Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997- Sections 14(b) & 36- Appeal- Validity of regulation framed by TRAI- Jurisdiction of TDSAT- Division Bench referred the matter before full Bench to answer that whether the regulation making power of TRAI u/Section 36 can be challenged before TDSAT under its appellate jurisdiction- Held, the TADSAT has all adjudicatory powers to adjudicate disputes between licensor and licensee, inter se disputes between two licensees and licensee and a group consumers except in three statutory exceptions namely dispute under MRTP Act, Telegraph Act and individual dispute maintainable before consumer forum. TDSAT has original adjudicatory jurisdiction under Section 14 (a) and the appellate jurisdiction under Section 14 (b) which was earlier exercised by High Court. Now, the High Court has no appellate jurisdiction to exercise judicial review of delegated legislation made by TRAI. The Supreme Court held, TDSAT does not have the jurisdiction to entertain the challenge to the regulations framed by the Authority under Section 36 of the Act. However, aggrieved person shall be free to challenge the validity of the regulations framed under Section 36 of the Act by filing appropriate petition before the High Court- Constitution of India- Articles 323-A, 323-B & 14- Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985- Section 14- Telegraph Act, 1885- Section 7-B(1).- The following cases were distinguished: L. Chandra Kumar Vs. Union of India & Others, (1997) 3 SCC 261; Union of India v. TATA Teleservices (Maharashtra) Ltd. (2007) 7 SCC 517; Telecom Regulatory Authority of India v. BPL Mobile Cellular Ltd, Civil Appeal No.6743/2003; Madras Bar Association v. Union of India (2010) 11 SCC 1; State of Gujarat v. Gujarat Revenue Tribunal Bar Association (2012) 10 SCC 353, 2012 (10) SCALE 285- The following cases were relied upon: PTC India Ltd. v. Central Electricity Regulatory Commission, (2010) 4 SCC 603.- HELD: Under the unamended Section 14(1), the Authority could decide disputes among service providers and between service providers and a group of consumers. In terms of Section 14(2) (unamended), the bench constituted by the Chairperson of the Authority can exercise powers and authority which were exercisable earlier by the Civil Court on technical compatibility and inter-connections between service providers, revenue sharing arrangements between different service providers, quality of telecommunication services and interest of consumers. However, the disputes specified in clauses (a), (b) and (c) of Section 14(2) could not be decided by the Bench constituted by the Chairperson (Para 49)- Since the mechanism provided for settlement of disputes under Section 14 of the unamended Act was not satisfactory, Parliament substituted that section and facilitated establishment of an independent adjudicatory body known as TDSAT. Clause (a) of amended Section 14 confers jurisdiction upon TDSAT to adjudicate any dispute between a licensor and licensee, between two or more service providers and between a service provider and a group of consumers. Three exceptions to the adjudicatory power of TDSAT relates to the cases which are subject to the jurisdiction of Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission, the complaint of an individual consumer which could be maintained under the consumer forums established under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 and dispute between Telegraph Authority and any other person referred to in Section 7B(1) of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 (Para 50)- The primary objective of the 2000 amendment was to separate adjudicatory functions of the Authority from its administrative and legislative functions and ward off the criticism that the one who is empowered to make regulations and issue directions or pass orders is clothed with the power to decide legality thereof. The word `direction’ used in Section 14(b) is referable to Sections 12(4) and 13. The word `order’ is referable to Section 11(2) and 12(1). The word `decision’ has been used in Section 14-A(2) and (7). This is because the proviso to Section 14-M postulates limited adjudicatory function of the Authority in respect of the disputes being adjudicated under Chapter IV before the 2000 amendment. This proviso was incorporated in Section 14-M to avoid a hiatus between the coming into force of the 2000 amendment and the establishment of TDSAT (Para 51)- None of the words used in Section 14(b) have anything to do with adjudication of disputes. Before the 2000 Amendment, the applications were required to be filed under Section 15 which also contained detailed procedure for deciding the same. While sub-Section (2) of Section 15 used the word `orders’, sub-Sections (3) and (4) thereof used the word `decision’. In terms of sub-Section (5), the orders and directions of the Authority were treated as binding on the service providers, Government and all other persons concerned. Section 18 provided for an appeal against any decision or order of the Authority. Such an appeal could be filed before the High Court. The amendment made in 2000 is intended to vest the original jurisdiction of the Authority in TDSAT and the same is achieved by Section 14(a). The appellate jurisdiction exercisable by the High Court is also vested in TDSAT by virtue of Section 14(b) but this does not include decision made by the Authority. Section 14-N provides for transfer to all appeals pending before the High Court to TDSAT and in terms of Clause (b) of sub-Section (2), TDSAT was required to proceed to deal with the appeal from the stage which was reached before such transfer or from any earlier stage or de novo as considered appropriate by it. Since High Court while hearing appeal did not have the power of judicial review of subordinate legislation, the transferee adjudicatory forum, i.e., TDSAT cannot exercise that power under Section 14(b) (Para 52)- In the result, the question framed by the Court is answered in the following terms: In exercise of the power vested in it under Section 14(b) of the Act, TDSAT does not have the jurisdiction to entertain the challenge to the regulations framed by the Authority under Section 36 of the Act (Para 64)- As a corollary, we hold that the contrary view taken by TDSAT and the Delhi High Court does not represent correct law. At the same time, we make it clear that the aggrieved person shall be free to challenge the validity of the regulations framed under Section 36 of the Act by filing appropriate petition before the High Court (Para 65).
  • Indus Towers Limited Vs. UOI And Ors., W.P. (C) 4976/2011, Judgment Dated: 18.04.2013, Bench: R.V. Easwar, S. Ravindra Bhat, JJ, Supreme Court Of India [Full PDF Judgment]- A writ petition seeking the issuance of a writ of certiorari quashing the order of the Commissioner, Department of Trade and Taxes, Government of NCT of Delhi passed on 29.04.2011 on the ground that it is ultravires Articles 14, 19(1)(g) and 265 and entry 97 of List I (Union List) of the 7th Schedule to the Constitution of India. A prayer has also been made seeking directions to the Union of India, Ministry of Finance, New Delhi, which is the first respondent herein, to refund the taxes paid by the petitioner under the Finance Act, 1994 on the activity of the provision of “passive infrastructure services”. 
  • Kapil Choudhary And Anr. Vs. Union Of India And Ors., W.P.(C) 5550/2015, Judgment Dated: 26.04.2016, Bench: Chief Justice& Jayant Nath, JJ, Delhi High Court [Full PDF Judgment] Public interest litigation seeking a writ of mandamus directing the respondents to remove the mobile towers installed in the residential area of village Tekhand, New Delhi- The Court held, “12. In view of the above, it is clear that there is no scientific data available to show that installation of mobile phone towers and the emission of the waves by the said towers is in any way harmful for the health or hazardous to the health of citizens. There is no conclusive data to the said effect. The petitioner has not been able to produce any data whatsoever showing any such harmful effects on the health of human beings. The petitioner has also not been able to show violation of any norms by the respondent.”.
  • In The Matter Of vs M/S Vodafone Essar Limited, Company Petition No. 334/2009, Judgment dated 29 March 2011, Bench: Sudershan Kumar Misra, J., Delhi High Court [Full PDF Judgment]: Scheme of arrangement involving demerger of the passive infrastructure assets.
  • Vodafone Infrastructure Ltd. & Ors., Company Petition No. 14/2012, Judgment dated 18 April 2013, Bench: S. Muralidhar, J., Delhi High Court [Full PDF Judgment]: Opening para teels it all about the case: “1. Vodafone Infrastructure Limited (‘VIL’), Bharti Infratel Ventures Limited (‘BIVL’), Idea Cellular Towers Infrastructure Limited (‘ICTIL’), Petitioner Nos. 1, 2 and 3 (‘Transferor companies’) respectively along with Indus Towers Limited (‘Indus’), Petitioner No. 4 (‘Transferee company’) have jointly filed this petition under Sections 391 to 394 of the Companies Act, 1956 (‘Act’) seeking sanction of the Scheme of Arrangement (‘Scheme’) among them and their respective shareholders and creditors.”

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