SC stays Thackeray-linked TDSAT order removing cap on number of SMSes

Number of SMS

The Supreme Court today stayed telecom tribunal TDSAT's order, which had quashed the sector regulator TRAI's circular limiting the number of SMSes to 200 per day per SIM.

In a brief hearing, a bench headed by Justice G S Singhvi stayed the tribunal's order and issued notice to late Bal Thackeray's grandson Aditya on whose plea TDSAT had passed the order.

The apex court passed the order on an appeal filed by TRAI challenging tribunal's order and asked Thackeray to respond to regulator's plea within six weeks.

With today's stay order, the sector regulator can enforce the circular till the apex court vacates its stay on the verdict by the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT).

TDSAT had on July 17 termed the ceiling on SMSes as "arbitrary" and against the right of freedom of speech and expression guaranteed under the Constitution and had set aside the sector regulator TRAI's circular.

Uddhav Thackeray's son Aditya had submitted that the restriction on SMSes was just a "non-application of mind" by TRAI and the circular fixing ceiling "has not explained why and how the figure of 100/200 SMS(s) per day was arrived at."

He had further contended that no consultation process was adopted by TRAI before incorporating the clause in this regard in the Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preference (8th Amendment) Regulation, 2011.

TRAI had permitted sending only 100 SMSes per day per SIM except on blackout days or days specially notified by it.

However, on November 1, 2011, it had increased the limit to 200 SMSes per day, per SIM.

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