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PIL FOR SETTING UP OMBUDSMAN IN TELECOM, HC SEEKS CENTER’S REPLY.

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The Bombay High Court directed the Centre and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to file within four weeks a reply to a PIL filed by the Petitioner Mr. Gansham Ramchandani seeking to set up an ombudsman in Telecom Sector.

The PIL filed by the Petitioner Mr. Gansham Ramchandani in the year 2016 also pointed that the Other Sectors such as Banking and Insurance also have an Ombudsman to immediately redress individual complaints but in Telecom there is no Ombudsman to redress individual Telecom Complaints.

According to the Petitioner’s Advocate Mr. Hitesh Ramchandani, the TRAI in the year 2004 had floated a consultation paper that there is a need to set up an ombudsman in Telecom Sector but in the year 2009 the Government decided not to set up an Ombudsman in Telecom Sector.

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Currently in telecom the redressal tire system is that the Consumer redresses first to Telecom Service Provider and if not satisfied then to Appellant Officer of the same service Provider. This tier-mechanism of a call centre and the appellate is not independent and it lies within the same authority of the telecom service provider who is a party in the matter. The Department of Telecommunication only acts as a facilitator and just forwards the consumer grievance to the service provider, the Department of Telecommunication does not give any order or penalise the service provider for not redressing the Consumer Grievance as they are not vested with powers to penalise the service provider for not redressing the Grievances. The service provider is at a discretion to close the complaint received from Department of Telecommunication without resolving the Consumers Grievances. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India does not entertain and does not redress individual Telecom consumer complaints.

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There is no other sector with such a mass base of 1 billion Telecom customer. An average consumer probably has complaints worth Rs.30 or Rs.20 a month. Very small value but large numbers. Since amount involved in most of the consumer complaints related to telecom service is very meagre in comparison to the litigation cost and in view of the time taken by the Consumer Courts/Forums in deciding the case, consumers in general are not willing to approach the Consumer Courts/Forums for redressal of their complaints.

The court fixed the matter for further hearing on 7th April 2017.

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