Empowering the Internet Generation


HC refuses to entertain PIL seeking telcos don't bill for unused Net, calls during lockdown

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The Delhi High Court Friday refused to entertain a plea seeking directions to telecom firms and internet service providers (ISPs) not to charge offices, shops or business establishments which were “compulsorily closed” due to COVID-19 lockdown. A bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Yogesh Khanna, hearing through video conferencing, said the Supreme Court has already dealt with a similar issue and the high court is not inclined to entertain the plea.

Advocate Amit Sahni, appearing for the petitioner, did not press the plea and withdrew it.

The counsel said due to the compulsory lockdown, people are unable to go to the workplace and, therefore, the telcos / ISP should not charge for lockdown period as the public was under compulsion not to avail services.

Petitioner S K Sharma said he had made a representation to the authorities to direct the telecom companies not to charge for the period when the services were not compulsorily utilised.

The plea has contended that “shops/offices/ business houses/factories and almost all commercial establishments remained closed in order to abide by the dictate of the government to maintain social distancing during the period of lockdown”.

He has further contended that telephone operators and ISPs ought not to charge citizens for services not used by them while following the government’s directions.

The petition has said that in the event such charges are levied, then the payments made be transferred to the relief fund set up by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to fight the coronavirus pandemic.


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