State-owned BSNL today withdrew its petition from telecom tribunal TDSAT against Trai, the sectoral regulator, challenging its regulation to curb unsolicited commercial calls.
BSNL had challenged Trai regulation on Unsolicited Commercial Communications (UCC), saying that it did not fall in the regulator's jurisdiction.
However, BSNL withdrew the petition after the matter was called for hearing. BSNL counsel, however, did not mention any reason for withdrawing the petition. The Counsel informed that on the instruction of the PSU, the matter was being withdrawn. Trai had proposed various measures, including a hefty penalty of up to Rs 2.50 lakh on telemarketing firms for breaching UCC rules.
The new guidelines, which were to take effect from January 1, have been deferred. BSNL had contended that Trai had no jurisdiction to issue regulation on UCC and as per the Indian Telegraph Rules, 1951, this power was vested with the Department of Telecom (DoT). The PSU requested quashing of the regulation as Trai had tried to 'usurp' DoT's domain. It said Trai has also prescribed equipment for the implementation of the UCC notification, which was not within its jurisdiction.
The PSU alleged that Trai gave very little time for implementing the directive and being a government firm it has to follow procurement process, which is very time consuming. Trai had proposed that all telemarketers be issued a different set of numbers starting with '70'. It also mandated that no commercial communication be sent between 9.00 pm and 9.00 am. Unlike the previous regulation, which was only for 'Do Not Call Registry', the new rules provide wider options to customers on UCC.
Subscribers may choose to be under the 'Fully Blocked' category, which is akin to the 'Do Not Call Registry', or opt for the 'Partially Blocked' category, under which they receive SMSes for the items chosen by them.