Scope of authority of Telecom Regulatory Authority to seek information.

Application by TRAI to disclose information/details:

Validity of insistence of TRAI about the disclosure of segmented discounts/concessions:

By the Telecommunication Tariff (30th Amendment) Order dated 16.01.2004, the definition of “Reporting Requirement” was substantially modified, so as to include the principles of non­discrimination and non­-predation. This was amended by the 42ndAmendment Order dated 07.03.2006. The 52nd Amendment Order dated 19.09.2012, introduced a penalty clause to the Reporting Requirement. Eventually the impugned order namely the 63rdamendment Order dated 16.02.2018 was issued. The amended definition of Reporting Requirement makes it clear that the Reporting Requirement is for the information and record of the TRAI.

Directions by Supreme Court:

In the light of the above historical background, what is now sought by TRAI to ensure adherence to the regulatory principles of transparency, non­discrimination and non-­predation, cannot be said, at least prima facie to be either illegal or wholly unjustified.Hence the I.A. is allowed and a direction is issued to the respondents to disclose information/details sought by the applicant/appellant regarding segmented offers. But it is the duty and responsibility of TRAI to ensure that such information is kept confidential and is not made available to the competitors or to any other person.

[Source: Telecom Regulatory Authority v. Bharti Airtel, decided by SC on 6 Nov. 2020]

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