Petition No. 518 of 2012. Case: Vodafone India Limited Vs Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd.. TDSAT (Telecom Disputes Settlement & Appellate Tribunal)

Case NumberPetition No. 518 of 2012
CounselFor Appellant: Navin Chawla and Santosh Sachin, Advocates and For Respondents: Maneesha Dhir, K.P.S. Kohli and Neha Singh, Advocates
JudgesAftab Alam, J. (Chairperson) and Kuldip Singh, Member
IssueIndian Telegraph Act, 1885 - Section 4
Judgement DateMay 27, 2015
CourtTDSAT (Telecom Disputes Settlement & Appellate Tribunal)


Kuldip Singh, Member

  1. It is a recovery petition for an amount of Rs. 10,58,00,328/- which as per the Petitioner is due on account of short payment of Interconnect Usage Charges (IUC) to be paid by the Respondent.

    The Petitioner is also claiming interest at the rates as prescribed in the Interconnect Agreement from the due date of payment till the same is made.

  2. The Petitioner has a license granted under section 4 of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 for provision of Unified Access Service in the Service area of Mumbai Telecom Circle. The Respondent is a Public Sector Undertaking having telecom network in the entire country and providing telecom services in India excepting Mumbai and Delhi.

    For the purpose of interconnection between services of the Petitioner and the Respondent, the parties entered into an Interconnect Agreement No. 114-10/2003-Regin/Mumbai dated 19.12.2003 as modified by various addendums.

  3. During the pendency of the petition, the parties were able to resolve some of their disputes before the Mediation Centre of the Tribunal. However, disputes with regard to the following four issues still remain:--

    Issue I: An amount of Rs. 4,32,01,052/- withheld by the Respondent vide its impugned letters dated 21.03.2012 and 20.06.2012 on account of signaling charges. This amount has been withheld from the IUC bills raised by the Petitioner for the months of December, 2011 to April, 2012 on the ground that the Petitioner had failed to pay the signaling link charges raised upon it vide invoice of the Respondent dated 29.03.2010 for an amount of Rs. 14,37,52,782/-.

    Issue II: A claim of Rs. 55,08,823/- pertaining to the period from May, 2008 to July, 2009. This claim has been rejected by the Respondent on the grounds that (i) the same is barred by the period of limitation (ii) It does not have CDRs for this period.

    Issue III: A deduction of Rs. 45,81,045/- made by the Respondent for nonpayment of its invoice dated 21.08.2007 which was for interest on delayed payment of IUC charges by the Petitioner for the bills dated 13.04.2004 and 13.09.2004.

    Issue IV: An amount of Rs. 9,51,981/- which the Respondent refused to pay stating that it has not received any invoice for the same.

  4. In regard to the first issue pertaining to the amount withheld due to signaling charges, Ms. Dhir, learned counsel appearing for Respondent submitted that the said amount was withheld against invoices dated 29.03.2010 issued by the Petitioner for Rs. 14,37,52,782/- towards signaling dispute is raised with regard to a bill, 50 per cent of the disputed amount is required to be paid. Further, as per clause 7.3.1 (iii) of the Interconnect Agreement, though the Petitioner is required to make all payments without netting off, BSNL can resort to netting off.

  5. Mr. Navin Chawla, learned counsel appearing on behalf of the Petitioner submitted that the Respondent-BSNL could not have withheld any amount on account of signaling charges in view of the judgment of the Tribunal in Petition No. 57 of 2010 -Aircel Limited v. BSNL and another, and other petitions in the batch. The matter in regard to signaling charges was challenged before the Tribunal in that petition and the Tribunal vide judgment dated 01.09.2010...

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