New Delhi: Vodafone yesterday moved the Delhi High Court seeking a stay on Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) 24th May recommendation for imposing a penalty of Rs. 1,050 crore on it for not providing interconnectivity to Reliance Jio.
The Single Judge Bench of Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva sought the response of the government regarding the matter and also issued notice to TRAI, seeking their reply as well.
Vodafone, in its application, claimed that the TRAI’s recommendation was without jurisdiction and had been wrongly passed without adhering to the principles of natural justice.
It also claimed that TRAI did not reconsider its recommendation for imposition of the penalty even after the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) sent back the initial recommendation made on 21.10.2016.
The application is connected to the writ petition pending before the High Court, filed by Vodafone after TRAI’s initial recommendation for the penalty. After the DoT sent the initial recommendation back to TRAI, the regulatory authority reiterated its stance in it’s24th May letter to the DoT.
The application claimed that Vodafone had the support of DoT with respect to all the grounds pleaded in the main petition. It is also stated that the action of TRAI was premeditated to somehow create a ground against the petitioners for alleged non-compliance of the license conditions. It states,“…the edifice of TRAI’s recommendation lies in self ignoring the 90 days period provided under the Interconnection Agreement to grant interconnection post commercial launch…”
Vodafone also contended that the recommendation for penalty is already being used by Reliance in a complaint before the Competition Commission of India (CCI), in which they have alleged unfair trade practices on the part of Vodafone, Airtel and Idea.
Earlier, TRAI submitted to the court that it was not required to give a hearing to Vodafone before giving its recommendation regarding the penalty and in fact no such hearing took place. TRAI has also issued similar recommendations against other telecom companies like Airtel and Idea.
The matter will be next heard on July 19.