No relief for telcos in call drop

New Delhi, March 4  The Supreme Court on Friday refused to pass any interim order on call drop issue as it will hold a hearing on March 10 on a plea challenging the regulator's decision to compensate subscribers for call drops. The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) and the Association of Unified Service Provider of India challenged the Telecom Regulator Authority of India's (TRAI) decision making it mandatory for telecom companies to compensate subscribers from January 1, 2016. Observing that "prima facie we find nothing ultra vires", the apex court bench of Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman did not pass any interim order, saying they would hear the matter on March 10 and then decide.  As senior counsel Kapil Sibal sought to address the court, the bench observed that call drop was "because of your default and you must pay". Appearing for the government, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi opposed the plea for interim relief and said: "I am saying there should not be interim order. I have succeeded in the high court. This is in consumer interest." With the court not passing any interim order, Sibal said there should not be any coercive steps by the regulator against the telecom companies. As he said that they have been called on March 9, the bench said they can seek an adjournment. "You ask them to adjourn the matter," the bench told Sibal. The COAI along with the Association of Unified Telecom Service Provider of India has challenged the Delhi High Court's order upholding the TRAI decision to penalise the telecom companies for call drops.