Don’t you just hate those pesky telemarketers who call you at all hours of the day? Come September 5, you might just be rid of them.
The Centre on Friday told the Supreme Court that the National Informatics Centre was in the process of setting up a ‘National Do Not Call Registry’ to tackle the menace of unsolicited calls to mobile phones. Additional Solicitor General PP Malhotra submitted before a Bench headed by Justice A.K. Mathur that the Telecom Unsolicited Commercial Communications Regulations, 2007 had already been notified and the whole mechanism would be operational from September 5. Interested parties could register themselves with the Registry.
However, the Bench — hearing a petition filed by advocate Harsh Pathak, seeking a ban on all unsolicited calls — was not satisfied. Terming the regulations as “toothless”, it said that unless there was severe punishment, it would not be effective. As an example, the Bench pointed out that a pesky call in the United States costs the service provider $1,100.
The court was also not agreeable to the proposed system of subscribers registering to avoid calls, saying it was not practical. Instead, it suggested that only those interested in entertaining such calls be registered as their numbers would be fewer. Agreeing that the calls were a menace, Justice Mathur complained: “Even I received a call from a private bank for a loan.”
On behalf of private phone operators, counsel A. Sundaram submitted that the new system being set up would check the menace. Sundaram and the ASG requested the court to let the government experiment with the new system. The court asked the Centre to file an affidavit detailing the latest steps taken by it to check the menace within two weeks and posted the matter for hearing on September 21.