Dispute settlement, consumer rights vital in telecom:SC Judge

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Hyderabad, Feb 24 (UNI) Supreme Court Judge B Sudershan Reddy today said dispute settlement, consumer rights protection and grievance redressal are subjects of utmost importance in Telecom and Broadcasting as these sectors are the engines and major drivers of socio-economic growth of the nation.

Inaugurating a one-day seminar on 'Dispute Settlement and Protection of Consumer Rights in the Telecom and Broadcasting Sectors', organised by the Telecom Dispute Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT), he said opening these sectors to unrestricted competition in India and convergence of technologies with rapid advancements give rise to complex issues in disputes.

This unprecedented challenge should be taken as an opportunity to make valuable contribution through expeditious resolution in a truly independent, transparent, credible and consistent manner.

Laws have to keep pace with the technology developments and innovations so as to use them as a facilitator to empower people.

Overlapping laws and outdated legislation must be removed.

Absence of a convergence law is leading to communication divide, which is not a good indicator for a country aspiring leadership in the information age.

He said it has been argued that a satisfactory regulatory regime should be able to provide the necessary consumer protection .

The assumption was the object of regulation was to increase economic efficiency, which would benefit all consumers.

Though the relationship between the service provider and its customers is a contractual one it still remains under a legal obligation to meet all reasonable request for supply.

The liberalisation and reform process in telecom sector took a legal shape with the position of an independent regulator after the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) came into force from 1997.

Its amendement in 2000 created a special independent statutory expert quasi judicial body called TDSAT for resolution of disputes amongst stakeholders and disposal of appeals against orders, determinators and direction of the regulator.

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