New Delhi, September 22: The Delhi High Court on Tuesday expressed displeasure at Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) for failing to take action against any unregistered telemarketers who are engaged in the activity of unsolicited commercial communications (UCC).

A Bench of Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan asked the telecom regulator why it has not taken any action against anybody till now. “Take action against some persons so that remaining persons fall in line,” the Court said, as reported by The Hindu.

During the hearing, the Bench raised serious objection to TRAI’s counsel for taking the court to definition of various regulations instead of showing the actual progress in the action initiated against unregistered telemarketers.

When TRAI’s counsel argued that showcause notices have been issued to various individuals and entities, the Bench shoot back saying, “Showcause notice is not an action. It is the process of taking action. Show us the progress that you have taken action against 10 persons”.

“There is a wrong notion in your (TRAI) mind that showcause notice is an action. We will impose cost upon you for every adjournment,” the Bench cautioned.

The High Court was hearing Paytm’s petition which claimed that telecom operators are not blocking those who are defrauding its customers by “phishing” activities over various mobile networks.

Senior advocate Dushyant Dave, appearing for Paytm, had claimed that due to the large number of unregistered players, Paytm was experiencing fraud of its customers to the tune of ₹1-2 crore each month.

Dave said there must be some timeline attached to the notices issued by TRAI so that there is progress in the action taken against unregistered telemarketers.

TRAI’s counsel said that as on September 18, 2020 more than 1.62 lakh ‘header’ have been registered the purpose of sending commercial communications.

‘Header’ is an alphanumeric string of maximum eleven characters or numbers assigned to an individual, business or legal entity to send commercial communications under the Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preferences Regulations (TCCCPR).

On the Bench asking, “how many ‘header’ are there which are floating around in the system at the moment,”, TRAI said that under the previous regime there used to be 9 lakh ‘header’ which could be attributed to duplication, active and inactive ‘header’.

“Nobody is saying that you are to investigate fraud like a police. But then you would want to have a telecom architecture which makes it difficult for persons to commit fraudulent transactions,” the Bench remarked.

The High Court directed TRAI to show progress on action taken by next date of hearing.

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