Repeated orders from the Supreme Court and the Delhi High Court against unsolicited telemarketing calls have fallen on deaf ears. And the Delhi High Court has taken note of the breach. Again.
Justices B.D. Ahmed and Veena Birbal, issuing a fresh appeal on January 15, said, “We feel cellular operators must ensure this menace of unsolicited commercial communications is reduced and put an end to.”
You’d probably be mistaken to think the common man alone is at the receiving end of the sales pitch muttered on the phone by telemarketing execs.
Justice Vikramjit Sen who headed the Bench that heard the case had said in the open court on October 23, 2008: “We ourselves receive calls at all times of the day and it is a nuisance. Those who make it should face the music”.
The Delhi Consumer Commission President Justice J.D. Kapoor had in January 2007 — hearing a complaint from lawyer Nivedita Sharma — slapped a joint fine of Rs 50 lakh on Airtel and Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) for the unsolicited calls.
In another example, a fine of Rs 12.5 lakh was imposed on ICICI for causing irritation by making uncalled-for calls and SMSes.
The Delhi High Court was hearing the appeals filed by these firms when it made the fresh appeal. The COAI told the court that regulations have already been issued by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), including establishment of the ‘Do Not Call Registry’. “If there is any violation of these regulations, then the COAI would obviously be liable,” the Bench said.
Relief for firms
But there was major relief in store for Airtel, COAI, ICICI and TRAI as the Bench set aside the fine imposed on them by the state consumer court saying it had exceeded its jurisdiction while imposing it.
“The State Commission does not have any power for making a penalty order of more than Rs 10,000,” it said.