TDSAT dismisses Idea plea challenging DoT show-cause notices

TDSAT dismisses Idea plea challenging DoT show-cause notices

New Delhi: Telecom tribunal TDSAT (Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal) has dismissed the petitions filed by Idea Cellular challenging the show-cause notices issued by the government on merger of Spice Communication with Aditya Birla group firm.

The tribunal rejected Idea Cellular’s plea after observing that it would be “improper" to pass any order as the Department of Telecom (DoT) is yet to pass the final order. It also made clear that after the DoT passes an order in this regard, Idea can challenge it.

“Keeping in view the fact that the respondent (DoT) is yet to pass any final order in the matter, we are of opinion that this order may not be construed to mean that in the event such an order is passed, the petitioner would be remediless," said the TDSAT bench headed by its chairman Justice S. B. Sinha.

It further said that Idea “would be entitled to raise all such contentions which are available to it for filing appropriate application before this tribunal in such event."

In its notice dated 1 June 2011, the DoT had said the merger happened despite it rejecting it on 7 January 2010. It also said that such information was suppressed by Idea before the Delhi high court in its application for amalgamation of Spice Communication with Idea Cellular.

However, in its judgement, the tribunal said that it would not go into the order passed by the HC.

The HC on 4 July 2011, dismissed Idea’s plea and had directed the company to surrender the spectrum to DoT along with a penalty of Rs1 crore for suppressing the fact.

This was challenged by Idea before a division bench, which had on 21 July directed to maintain status quo over the licences of Karnataka and Punjab. It had also directed the DoT not to take any coercive step.

“We have not considered the other aspects of the matter, including the finding of the single judge of the Delhi High Court to which reliance has been placed by Ms Dhir (DoT’s counsel) as we opine that it would be improper on our part to comment, on way or the other on the judgement of a competent court of law with which we are not concerned," the tribunal said.