In another twist to the differences between the government and telecom operators over pan-India 3G services, the Delhi High Court today issued contempt of court notices to Idea Cellular Ltd and its chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla for allegedly ignoring an earlier order by providing 3G services to customers in circles where it lacks direct licences.
The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) had earlier sought contempt proceedings against Idea, saying that instead of complying with the court's earlier orders, the petitioner (Idea Cellular) had filed an additional affidavit stating that it has 'additionally decided' to provide 3G services to existing customers who meet certain criteria.
There were no such criteria provided by the court, the DoT's counsel had argued.
A bench comprising Justice Rajiv Shakdhar asked the telecom company and five of its executives, including Birla, to file their responses within four weeks.
The bench posted the matter for further hearing on 5 August.
The other Idea executives issued with notices apart from Birla were managing director Himanshu Kapania, chief financial officer Akshya Moondra, and company secretaries P Lakshminarayana and Pankaj Kapdeo.
The DoT had earlier moved the court seeking contempt proceedings against Idea for "wilful and deliberate" disobedience of a court order passed on 12 April restraining the company from providing 3G services to its new customers.
"The order has to be obeyed in its entirely. The petitioner (Idea), under the garb of so-called criteria, has modified the condition imposed by this court on 12 April ... this amounts to contempt of the said order," it had said.