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New Delhi: The meeting between the telecom ministry and the telecom regulator held on Sunday to discuss the issue of call drop penalty imposed on telecom companies did not yield any result, attorney general Mukul Rohatgi informed the Supreme Court on Monday.

“The matter cannot be settled, we will defend the penalty in the court," Rohatgi said in an interview.

On 5 April, the attorney general had told the court that there would be a consultation between the ministry and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) over the contentious issue of compensation to subscribers arising out of call drops.

At an earlier hearing, the apex court had asked Trai to reconsider the penalty sought to be imposed under the notification after one of its technical papers on the subject endorsed the argument put forth by the telcos that varied, indeterminate factors were responsible for call drops.

The apex court is currently hearing a plea by telecom companies, challenging the high court’s verdict of 29 February which upheld Trai’s notification under which telecom service providers would have to compensate customers for calls dropped up to a maximum of three calls a day at Re.1 per call.

The telcos challenged the notification stating that there were a variety of reasons for call drops beyond their control and that it was impossible to find the exact reason for each such drop.

Bharti Airtel Ltd, Aircel Ltd, Vodafone India Ltd, Idea Cellular Ltd, Telenor Communications Pvt. Ltd, Videocon Communications, Reliance Telecommunications Ltd and Tata Teleservices Ltd are among the companies seeking a stay on mandatory compensation for call drops.

The case will continue to be heard on 12 April.

Apurva Vishwanath contributed to the story.

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