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Delhi High Court Refrains From obstructing With TRAI’s Penalty Recommendation

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The Delhi High Court today refrained from directing the Centre or any other authority not to act upon TRAI’s recommendation to impose Rs. 1,050 crores penalty on Vodafone for not providing interconnectivity to Reliance Jio as no one except the regulator was a party in the case.

Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva, however, on Vodafone’s plea, made the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) of the Ministry of Communication a party in the case and directed it and TRAI to file a reply to the telecom major’s plea challenging the recommendation.

“How can I stop anyone else or the Union government from acting on the recommendation when they are not before this court? I will make the government a party and will issue notice to it. Its presence is necessary,” the judge said and listed the matter for hearing on January 3 next year.

The order came after Vodafone, represented by senior advocate Rajiv Nayar, claimed that Reliance Jio (RJio) has gone to the Competition Commission of India (CCI) with the recommendation made by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and sought that the other authorities be restrained from acting upon the regulator’s suggestion.
During the hearing, the court said it was of the prima facie view that TRAI seems to be only a recommendatory body or a wing of the government from which the government takes advice and thus, under their internal mechanism they may follow a procedure as per law or as they deem fit.

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