The Delhi State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has imposed a total fine of Rs 75 lakh on a mobile service provider, two banks and the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) for pestering the public with unsolicited telemarketing calls and SMSes, despite a ban.
While Airtel and the COAI are to jointly pay Rs 50 lakh, ICICI Bank and American Express Bank are to share a fine of Rs 25 lakh. Although various courts have issued directions in this regard, this is the first time in India that companies have been penalised.
On Monday, the commission, headed by Justice JD Kapoor, said: "To stop this menace, we feel inclined to impose heavy damages on the service providers and banks for their care-a-fig attitude and continuing to indulge in these activities despite our earlier ban and the Supreme Court's clear-cut directions."
The order came on a petition filed by a Saket-based lawyer who was an Airtel subscriber. The court said every subscriber who suffered from such calls shall be entitled to a minimum compensation of Rs 25,000.