The Supreme Court on Monday gave last chance to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India to give its suggestions on the guidelines framed by the Centre for tightening the verification process for mobile phone connections.
The Supreme Court also said it will pass some directions if the telecom regulator fails to come out with its suggestions.
“We now need TRAI’s suggestions. We are giving them last opportunity and if they do not come out with the suggestions then we will pass some directions,” a bench headed by Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia said.
At the outset, Additional Solicitor-General Gaurab Banerji asked the bench to give some more time to place before it the suggestions of TRAI.
The court was hearing a Public Interest Litigation seeking a direction for strictly following the verification of consumers before providing connections for mobile phones.
The Kolkata-based petitioner, Avishek Goenka, submitted that verification norms were necessary in view of the recent probe in terror attacks pointing towards the use of mobile phones in which the connections were provided on the basis of fake documents.
He referred to the reports stating that both in Mumbai and Delhi blasts, the probe had reached to the conclusion that the cellular phones used by the accused were operating on the bogus SIM cards.
However, the bench, also comprising justices A.K. Patnaik and Swatanter Kumar, was of the view that waiting for TRAI’s suggestions would be appropriate as the courts cannot assume the role of regulator.
“Our difficulty is that we are not regulator,” the bench said and added that “whether the TRAI comes out with suggestions or not next time, we will pass some directions”.
The court, on January 3, 2012 had also asked the telecom regulator to respond whether the guidelines are sufficient to ensure that proper verification is done by the cellular operators before providing mobile connections.
“TRAI should be ready with the comments,” the bench had said posting the matter for further hearing after two weeks.
However, during the last hearing also, the adjournment was granted.
The court was hearing a PIL seeking a direction for strictly following the verification of consumers before providing connections for mobile phones.
The Centre had informed the court that guidelines have been framed by it for the purpose.
The petition claimed that the verification process was like a lip-service in case of pre-paid connection and though some degree of precaution is taken in case of post-paid connection, it was not sufficient.