The state Consumer Redressal Forum, angered by goods and service providers making unsolicited calls or sending text messages to consumers, has for one last time asked cellular phone operators to put an end to the practice, one of the most irritating aspects of modern day life.
It also urged cellular phone users to complain to the forum if companies continue to annoy them, as they are driving to office, are in the middle of a crucial meeting, having dinner or about to go to sleep.
Failure to comply with the order will invite fines of up to Rs 10,000 and imprisonment for between one month and three years under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. The punishment would be handed to the CEOs, or chief executive officers, of goods and services providers found flouting the order.
The order came on a complaint of one Nivedita Sharma that unsolicited calls and messages were still being made to her despite a court order on June 25 this year pulling up service providers.
The court also directed service providers not to disclose any information, including the cell phone numbers of their customers, to anyone.
On earlier court orders having been overlooked by cellular operators, justice J.D. Kapoor said, "We urge all consumers to send their complaints in writing to the commission if they are still receiving call or messages to identify the violators."
Counsel for Cellular Operators Association of India pleaded that providers of mobile services offer a "Do Not Disturb (DND)" service, which gives the option to a consumer to block any service messages or calls, but the court was not convinced with the argument.