A day after the Supreme Court restrained Airtel from adding new 3G subscribers in seven circles for which it had no licenses, the Delhi high court on Friday passed a similar interim order against Vodafone and Idea Cellular.
The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) had, over the last month, issued notices to Vodafone and Ideal Cellular to stop providing 3G services in circles for which they did not have licences and also pay penalties of Rs.550 crore and Rs.300 crore, respectively, for doing so.
Justice Rajiv Shakdher, who passed the order, however, asked the Centre not to take any coercive steps against the two telecom companies.
The two companies were providing telecom services in circles for which they did not have licenses by tying up with other cellular companies that had licenses in those circles. When contacted, Idea Cellular official declined to comment.
The order will not affect existing Vodafone and Ideal Cellular subscribers in these circles. But they will not be able to add new subscribers during the pendency of the order.
Idea Cellular was offering such services in six circles including Delhi and Mumbai and Vodafone in 11 circles including Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh.
Earlier, senior advocates AM Singhvi and Maninder Singh, appearing for Idea Cellular and Vodafone, respectively, sought a stay on the operation of DoT’s notices to the two companies.
The court issued notice to DoT to file its reply to the two separate petitions of Vodafone and Idea within one week.
Meanwhile, the court allowed the plea of another senior lawyer Mukul Rohatgi that Reliance Communication Ltd be made a party to the suit.