According to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), the plea moved by Paytm in the Delhi High Court is misconceived. The TRAI has made the submission in an affidavit filed in the High Court in response to the petition by One97 Communications Limited, which runs Paytm.

In its plea, Paytm had alleged that telecom operators are not blocking phishing activities over various mobile networks.  During the brief hearing, Paytm, said that everyone was in agreement that the Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preferences Regulations (TCCCPR) 2018, has to be strictly implemented in consumer’s interest. If a direction to strictly implement the regulations is issued then the matter can be disposed of.

In its reply, TRAI said that ordinary citizens/subscribers can complain under the TCCCPR with regard to unsolicited commercial communications (UCC). However, for business entities like Paytm, the procedure is different. Further, it added that TCCCPR, 2018 mainly deals with UCC, and are not meant to deal with fraudulent messages. The telecom regulator further added that any telecom user, who is also a customer of the Paytm, receives an UCC which he has not opted for as per the provisions of TCCCPR 2018, he is free to report the same to his telecom service provider (TSP) for resolution and to take necessary action against the defaulter. If a business entity faces a service problem with a TSP there is a system for lodging complaints which is distinct from TCCCPR.

With regard to Paytm’s opposition to the graded penalty provision in TCCCPR, instead of instant disconnection, TRAI has said swift disconnection on the first violation would cause disproportionate harm. It said such a step would not only take away the ability to send any message but also disconnects access to the digital world using that number for other purposes.

TRAI has said that entities like Paytm were required to register themselves and their headers with the TSPs as per the TCCCPR 2018. Further, it added that there has been no failure in implementation of the statutory and technological architecture provided under TCCCPR.

The centre, in its reply has directed all the telcos to ensure SIM cards are not issued or activated without proper verification in order to address security related issues. Further, the centre added it was closely monitoring the activation process and was also working on complaints received from individual subscribers or from industry with regard to UCCs and was taking necessary action on a case to case basis.

The court has adjourned the matter to July 14, 2020.