In a setback to Bharti Airtel, the Delhi High Court on Thursday lifted the stay on the Department of Telecommunication’s (DoT’s) order imposing a fine of Rs. 350 crore on Bharti Airtel for allegedly providing 3G services outside its licensed zones.
A two judge bench headed by chief
justice D Murugesan struck down the May 18 order of a single-judge bench of the same court, which stayed the fine, and allowed Airtel to continue with 3G intra-circle roaming facilities till its final order.
The DoT had on March 15 directed Airtel to stop intra-circle 3G roaming in seven circles where it did not have the spectrum and asked it to pay a fine of Rs. 350 crore in 72 hours. Airtel succeeded in obtaining a stay of the order by March 18.
Airtel had challenged a telecom ministry’s order asking it to stop providing 3G services in seven zones where it does not have its own airwaves and is offering the services through pacts with other telecom carriers.
The ministry had maintained that such pacts were illegal.