TRAI seeks to penalise companies with Rs 10cr fine, jail term for call drops

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to control the call drop has asked government to amend the law for them to impose a penalty of up to Rs. 10 crores on mobile operators and a two-year jail term on executives for any violation of regulatory framework. This move comes after Supreme Court blocked TRAI’s move to penalize telecom operators.

TRAI order was quashed by Supreme Court when they asked telecom operators to compensate subscribers for call drops. TRAI had put in place some new rules which mandated telecom operators to pay Re. 1 for each dropped call which could be increased to Rs. 3 per day. This rule was rejected by the Apex court after the companies appealed against it.

In its latest move, TRAI suggested the Department of Telecom amendments in various provisions in the Trai Act 1997, which states, “A service provider can be liable for a penalty which may increase to ten years if it violates violates any directions, order or regulations made under this Act.”

After a detailed examination of the Apex judgment, the regulator said that it had concluded the need for seeking greater clarity in protecting the interest of consumers, grievance redressal, and enforcement of its regulations and orders.

TRAI released an official statement which stated –

To be an effective regulator, TRAI needs to be statutorily empowered to enforce its direction, rules, regulations as well as terms and conditions of the license issued to service providers through the imposition of penalties for contravention of such regulations direction, etc.

Even if after this, the violation continues a provision of additional fine that can be extended to Rs. 15 lakh for every day till the time the default continues will be added. As of now TRAI can impose a fine of Rs. 2 lakh and if the default continues, an additional penalty of Rs. 2 lakh is to be imposed until the time of breach of rules.

Other than this, TRAI has also proposed an amendment to Section 29 of the TRAI Act 1997 which is the penalty for contravention of its direction and also sought introduction of three new sections 29 A, 29 B, and 29 C.

TRAI asked for the substitution of Section 29 saying that if a person violates direction of the authority, such person shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term of two years and a fine, which may extend up to Rs. 15 lakh.

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