Petition No. 341 of 2013. Case: Vodafone South Ltd. Vs Union of India. TDSAT (Telecom Disputes Settlement & Appellate Tribunal)

Case NumberPetition No. 341 of 2013
CounselFor Appellant: Meet Malhotra, Sr. Advocate, Navin Chawla and Sidharth, Advocates and For Respondents: S.S. Shamshery and Vikas Malik, Advocates
JudgesAftab Alam, J. (Chairperson), Dr. Kuldip Singh and B.B. Srivastava, Members
IssueIndian Telegraph Act, 1885 - Section 4
Judgement DateDecember 08, 2015
CourtTDSAT (Telecom Disputes Settlement & Appellate Tribunal)


Dr. Kuldip Singh, Member

  1. The petitioner Vodafone South Limited has been granted Unified Access Service Licenses by the respondent under section 4 of the Indian Telegraph Act. It is aggrieved by the imposition of a penalty of Rs. 27,97,35,000/-, revised subsequent to the judgment of the Tribunal in Petition No. 252 of 2013 to Rs. 15,83,04,600/-, for alleged violation of license conditions regarding verification of subscribers in its Andhra Pradesh Service Area. The penalties are imposed for the period from April 2009 to December 2009. These are imposed by the TERM cell, A.P. for failure to supply 599 Customer Verification Forms (CAFs) and alleged failure to comply with essential requirements like photos on CAFs, identity, and address proof in 7524 cases.

  2. This Tribunal had examined the issue of CAF in detail in its judgment dated July, 2, 2014 in petition No. 48 of 2012. Paras 4 and 5 of this judgment are as under:

    4. Clause 41.14 of the License Agreement is a part of security considerations. The objective of this clause is that the identity as well as address details of any subscriber subscribing to the services of the licensee company should be readily available in case of need. We may note that in case of a fixed phone service, the premises where the phone is installed is well known in contrast to mobile service where the subscriber can be anywhere. It is more so in case of prepaid service for which the phone bill is not required to be issued to the subscriber and the subscriber can avail the services by purchasing prepaid vouchers and charging his account. In case of any need by a security agency, the details of such subscribers must be readily and correctly available. Since the matter may involve the security of the country, the importance of these details cannot be over-emphasized.

    5. Department of Telecommunications (DoT)-Union of India has been issuing instructions from time to time for compliance with clause 41.14 of the license. It has also provided for a scheme of financial penalty for violation of terms &conditions of the license agreement in respect of subscriber verification. The Department has also been carrying out the audit of the licensees to ensure their compliance with the instructions issued from time to time. Vide letter dated 01.6.2010 the work relating to imposition of penalty has been de-centralized and put on Telecom, Enforcement, Resources and Monitoring (TERM) Cells set up under DOT in various license areas.

    Subscribers, while subscribing to the services of a licensee, are required to complete a form which is called as the 'Customer Acquisition Form (CAF)'. The subscribers are also required to submit the proof of identity as well as proof of address, for which certain documents specified by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) are to be provided. Licensees are also required to follow the guidelines issued in this regard from time to time. To ensure compliance with the instructions in this regard, TERM Cell of the concerned service area conducts monthly audits of the...

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