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Bombay high court asks government to instate ombudsman for telecom sector

April 12, 2018

The Bombay high court has asked the central government to instate an ombudsman for the telecom sector, a move that will aid redressal of consumers’ complaints. The court has further directed the government to submit a plan for this within a month’s time. The decision judgement comes after a division Bench of Justice SS Kemkar and Justice MS Karnik was hearing a petition filed by Gansham Ramchandani.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has already been recommending the setting up of an ombudsman for complaint redressal and had reiterated it in its latest recommendation for the new telecom policy. To this end, the TRAI in March 2018 had recommended that setting up an ombudsman in the sector would have the power to levy penalties on the telecom service providers. Therefore, the Bombay high court has also asked the central government to respond to TRAI’s recommendations.

Further, a parliamentary standing committee on information technology had also reiterated the recommendation in December 2017 and had added the suggestion of setting up an e-court for addressing consumer grievance in telecom sector which will take e-evidence and give e-judgements. However, the government had responded by saying that the proposal was being considered by the Department of Telecommunications.

The Bombay high court’s order is likely to speed up the process of setting up an ombudsman. However, more clarity on the mechanism of the ombudsman’s functioning is expected once the central government submits its plan to the high court.


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