In a significant development, the Supreme Court has ruled that the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) has no jurisdiction over the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). The Apex Court said that TDSAT can’t interfere with TRAI’s regulations, and if parties did not agree with any of the regulations formed by TRAI, they should move a High Court.
It may be recalled that TRAI had moved SC in 2010, seeking clarification on TDSAT’s powers regarding decision on any of its regulation. TRAI had mentioned in its plea that TDSAT should not be allowed to hear appeals against its regulations and that the Tribunal can decide only against a direction, decision or an order passed by TRAI.
Confirming the news to exchange4media, Saket Singh, a senior advocate and Counsel for TRAI, said, “We have filed this plea and the Supreme Court has given the direction on December 6, 2013. We will inform the TDSAT about this officially on Monday, December 9.”
Impact of the ruling
The ruling is considered significant in terms of the powers of the TDSAT. This ruling will have an impact on all the regulations of TRAI and also the ongoing hearing process of the 10+2 ad cap filed by the News Broadcasters Association (NBA) and other music channels.
Now, all parties will need to move the High Court for challenging TRAI’s regulations.
“It has been made clear by the Supreme Court that if there is any dispute or violation or direction, then they can approach the TDSAT but cannot examine the regulation, as regulation is a Parliamentary function and only the Supreme Court and High Court hold the power of constitutional validity,” said Vibhav Srivastava, a senior advocate.