Is bludgeoning S Tel into submission
This should not happen in liberalised India. The Department of Telecom ordered S Tel, a new entrant to India’s thriving telecom market, to shut down operations. The order did not say why such a serious decision has been taken, affecting about 5 lakh service providers in three states. It was put out that security concerns prompted the decision.
However, the ministry of home affairs has made it clear that it has not asked DoT to shut down S Tel’s operations. What it has said is that S Tel should put in place the necessary facilities for lawful interception of communications, as is required of all communication service providers. So that leaves DoT without any ‘security’ cover for its decision.
What else could be the reason for this sudden, terminal move on DoT’s part? Surely, it cannot be related to the possibility of DoT losing, in the Supreme Court, its appeal against a high court order that had upheld an S Tel plea against the unfair manner in which DoT had allotted licences in 2008, arbitrarily advancing the deadline for submission of applications in a manner that favoured some applicants and discriminated against others, including S Tel.
The latter had applied for 22 licences, but got only six, and legally challenged the government’s action. After it got orders to stop operations, and prior to the Supreme Court hearing on Wednesday, S Tel wrote to DoT saying that it was no longer interested in pursuing the other licences.
The Supreme Court has directed S Tel to file an affidavit explaining what prompted it to write to DoT undermining the case it had won in the high court, on the eve of its hearing in the Supreme Court. The answer, as they say, is blowing in the wind.
This cannot be allowed to go on. DoT cannot be run like a fiefdom. The prime minister and the council of ministers have a collective responsibility, which cannot be abdicated in the name of coalition compulsions.
Posted by Wang | 07 May, 2010
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Posted by Mohamed Riyaz , Asst Manager at IDEA cellular ltd | 11 Mar, 2010
Posted by Parveen Kumar , ABCD at Other Than S-Tel | 11 Mar, 2010
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