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Pesky calls: SC asks Centre to change law

The Apex Court gives eight weeks' time to the Centre to amend the law and facilitate early imposition of stiff penalties to curb pesky calls.

india Updated: Mar 25, 2008 22:48 IST

The Supreme Court on Tuesday gave eight weeks' time to the Centre to amend the law and facilitate early imposition of stiff penalties on service providers and telemarketing companies to curb the menace of pesky calls.

A bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhan directed the Union of India to file a compliance report giving details about the mechanism being adopted by it to impose harsher penalties, as per the recommendation of TRAI, to check unsolicited calls.

The directions followed after Additional Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium submitted that the authorities would need some time to amend the law to implement revised penalties ranging from Rs 5000 to Rs 20,000 on various banks and mobile service providers making pesky calls despite subscribers registering with the 'National Do-Not-Call Registry'.

He informed the court that the the telecom regulator had notified that service providers would be subjected to a fine of Rs 5,000 for the first unsolicited commercial call made to a subscriber enlisted in the National Do-Not-Call-registry and Rs 20,000 for every subsequent call.

It would act as an effective deterrent for non-compliance of the regulations and reduce the nuisance and inconvenience caused to mobile phone subscribers, he added.

Subramanium further said that the guidelines and regulations - National Do-Not-Call Registry - related to checking pesky calls have been in place since September.

Counsel Vivek Tankha and Prashant Kumar, appearing for petitioner Harsh Pathak, submitted that there was no mechanism to implement the Regulations.

Earlier, the apex court had sought reply from 11 respondents including the Centre, cellular operators and nationalised banks on a PIL filed by advocate Harsh Pathak over the menace.