The Supreme Court backed telecom regulator TRAI’s (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) request to seek details from operators Bharti Airtel and Vodafone on segmented tariff – or special offers to certain customers. The top court directed both private sector telecom companies to give the details to TRAI, asking the regulator to keep the information confidential. The details should not reach any third person, especially competitors, said the three-judge Supreme Court bench headed by the Chief Justice Sharad Arvind Bobde.
The Authority’s move to seek details is in keeping with transparency and cannot be deemed illegal, the top court ruled.
The TRAI had moved the top court opposing an order by the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal’s ruling in favour of Airtel and Vodafone. The tribunal had ruled that TRAI had no authority to call for such information.
The matter relates to a dispute between telecom companies and the regulator over disclosure of such information. Airtel and Vodafone had opposed TRAI’s move to make it mandatory for telecom operators to disclose information on such plans.
Both companies had then taken the matter to the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) on the grounds that these offers were not tariff plans and did not need disclosures.