India’s Supreme Court on December 4th stayed a telecom tribunal order that quashed limiting of the number of SMSes to 200 per day per user. The SMS quota was originally introduced in 2011 by the regulator, TRAI to stop spamming by telemarketing companies.
In a brief hearing, a bench headed by Justice G S Singhvi stayed the Telecom Disputes and Appellate Tribunal’s (TDSAT) order. The Supreme Court passed the order on an appeal filed by TRAI challenging tribunal's order.
TDSAT had on July 17 termed the ceiling on SMSes as "arbitrary" and against the right of freedom of speech and expression guaranteed under the Constitution and had set aside the sector regulator TRAI's circular.
Uddhav Thackeray's son Aditya had submitted that the restriction on SMSes was just a "non-application of mind" by TRAI and the circular fixing ceiling "has not explained why and how the figure of 100 or 200 SMSes per day was arrived at."
TRAI had permitted sending only 100 SMSes per day per SIM except on blackout days or days specially notified by it. On November 1, 2011, it had increased the limit to 200 SMSes per day per SIM.
Though Supreme Court orders to remove the cap, it is not sure when the directives from DoT and TRAI will be implemented on operators' front.