Legal Correspondent

New Delhi: The Centre informed the Supreme Court on Friday that a “Do-not-call registry” would be ready by September 5, and it would put an end to the menace of unsolicited calls received by subscribers from mobile phone and telemarketing companies. “Those in the registry will not receive any unsolicited calls,” Government counsel P.P. Malhotra told a Bench, comprising Justices A.K. Mathur and Dalveer Bhandari, hearing a public interest petition seeking a ban on such calls.

“The Government is also planning to impose a fine of Rs.50 crore on those service providers who violate the new norms being framed to prevent tele-harassment of customers,” he said.

Senior counsel C.A. Sundaram, appearing on behalf of some telecom companies, said, “Toll-free numbers will be set up from August 2 to enable subscribers to register themselves. Once subscribers register, they will no longer receive unsolicited calls.”

Taking note of the submissions, the Bench adjourned the hearing to the last week of September.

Notice issued in 2005

Acting on a public interest petition filed by social activist Harsh Pathak, the court issued notice in 2005 to the Centre, the Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd., Hutch, Reliance Telecom, IDEA Cellular, Bharti Telenet, Citibank, HSBC Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, HDFC Bank and ICICI Bank seeking their response.

The matter came up for further hearing on Friday. The petitioner contended that he and his family members were subscribers of various mobile phone companies. They were fed up with the unsolicited calls made to them by cellular, banking and other companies using telemarketing as a strategy for business promotion.

The petitioner sought a direction to the respondent cellular companies to check, regulate and end the endemic invasion of privacy of their subscribers of the mobile telephony services at all times and hours through such unsolicited calls.