Supreme Court stays TDSAT’s order that removed cap on SMSes

The Supreme Court on Monday stayed telecom tribunal TDSAT's order, which had quashed Trai's circular limiting the number of SMSes to 200 per day per SIM.

A bench led by Justice GS Singhvi also issued a notice to late Bal Thackeray's grandson Aditya Thackeray, on whose plea the TDSAT had passed the impugned order. The court has asked Thackeray to respond within six weeks.

The apex court passed the interim order on an appeal by the Telecom Regulatory and Authority of India (Trai), challenging the tribunal's order, which had on July 17 termed the ceiling on SMSes as "arbitrary" and against the constitutional right of freedom of speech and expression. SC's stay order may enable Trai to reinforce its circular till any further orders of the apex court.

In a separate order passed on a PIL by NGO Telecom Watchdog, the Delhi High Court had also allowed mobile phone users to send unlimited messages, setting aside the cap of 200 messages a day.

The High Court had asked Trai to bring out more measures to deal with this menace. However, it had upheld the curb on unwanted commercial SMSes saying they infringed the "equally" important right to privacy of "unwilling recipients".

Trai's appeal against the High Court order is also pending before another bench of the apex court.

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