In a reprieve to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, the Supreme Court yesterday stayed a Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal order, which had set aside the regulator's domestic leased circuits regulation, 2007.
The apex court said that TRAI should give its report by 11 August and in the meantime the interim order of maintaining the status quo on the order of the telecom tribunal will continue.
While asking TRAI to examine the issue, the Bench said that the earlier order passed by TDSAT will not restrict the scope of examining the issue afresh.
The court was hearing the petition filed by TRAI challenging the TDSAT decision quashing the Telecommunications (Broadcasting & Cable) Services (Second) Tariff (Eighth Amendment) Order 2007, holding that the regulator had violated principles of transparency.
As per the regulation, public sector telecom companies BSNL and MTNL were to provide interconnection for last-mile link to private players, or anybody who demandsit within 30 days of the application.
The court also issued notices to BSNL and MTNL on the plea of the regulator. Advocate Sanjay Kapur, who appeared on behalf of Trai, said the access to DLCs are critical for new businesses and service providers and the tribunal's order, however, will have a crippling impact on the growth of the sector.
As per the regulation, BSNL and MTNL were bound to provide interconnection to private cellular operators at the farthest point. It was challenged before the Tribunal by BSNL and MTNL as they consider it as unprofitable. TRAI, in turn, approached the Supreme Court against the tribunal order.