The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) has asked the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) not to encash the bank guarantees (BGs) of Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea Limited (Vi) until the next hearing in the points of interconnection (PoI) case on October 26, 2021.

The move comes after Airtel and Vi had moved the TDSAT challenging the DoT’s demand notices for penalties levied against the two telcos for denying points of interconnection (PoIs) to Reliance Jio in 2016. The DoT had demanded that both the telcos pay Rs 30.5 billion in cumulative penalties by October 21, 2021 for violating norms by denying Reliance Jio PoIs in 2016, which affected the latter’s quality of service. In particular, the DoT demanded penalties worth Rs 10.5 billion from Airtel and Rs 20 billion from Vi.

While the DoT’s advocate stated that he will await instructions from the telecom department regarding the next step, counsels representing Airtel and Vi perceived these penalties as being “absurd” and “injust.”

Further, Airtel’s senior counsel questioned the very genesis of these penalties while Vi’s lawyers said that the penalty amount was excessive.

The TDSAT will now hear the case on October 26, 2021.