A plea has been moved in the Delhi High Court seeking a direction to be issued to all the Telecom Service Providers to not to block the services of those subscribers who are unable to pay bills during the COVID19 crisis.
Filed by Advocate Priyatam Bhardwaj, the PIL seeks direction to be issued to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India to further direct telecommunication service provide across all service areas in India to not to block incoming calls and incoming messages on any activate subscribed mobile number until the COVID19 crisis are resolved.
In addition to this, the Petitioner demands restoration of services of those subscribers who were blocked from availing services of incoming calls and messages due to non payment of bills or lack of recharge.
The petition states that:
'blocking calling facilities amid this given crisis situation people are facing financial crunches at one hand and struggle with their life on the other hand may deprived lots of poor people from even right of talking to their unfortunate family member due to blocking of incoming facilities as many people can even afford to recharge. And many people perhaps will not be able to communicate to their family member about contract virus or being in hospitalised.'
The Petitioner has pointed out that TRAI has a general fund created under section 22 of TRAI Act that commands TRAI to utilise such fund consumer welfare schemes that are for the welfare of the existing subscribers.
Hence, the Petitioner argues, this fund can also be utilised to set off the losses that TRAI might incur by complying with the prayers raised in this petition.
The Petitioner has also cited the Telecom Policy of 1994 which says that the licences are provided to private player to make the telecom services available to everyone in India at an affordable rate.
While highlighting that the Telecommunication Services in present scenario has become the underlying infrastructure over which several essential services such as banking, education, health care and public services are delivered, the Petitioner has submitted that allowing affordable telcom services would assist the basic rights of livelihood and communication of the subscribers.
The petition says:
'Blocking of incoming messages and incoming call amount isolating us away from the world. It amounts to preventing other person from reach out to us. It amount to disconnecting us from the world. It is similar to imposition of constraint on us that withheld us from living our life and enjoy our life.'