Telecom Disputes and Settlement Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) is a body created initially for settling the disputes in the Telecom sector. However the Finance Bill 2017 has changed the character of TDSAT by merging the Cyber Appellate Tribunal (CyAT) which was set up under ITA 2000 to hear appeals from the Adjudicating officers all over India and the CCA.
TDSAT was set up under TRAI Act 1997 (as amended) and exercises both original and appellate jurisdiction. CyAT on the other hand exercised only an appellate jurisdiction and not original jurisdiction.
TDSAT does not seem to have issued separate rules for handling Cases transferred from CyAT and probably it may do so some time in future. In the meantime the existing law and the rules regarding TDSAT may be considered as continuing.
In CyAT, the appeal filing fees was Rs 2000/- and no fees was fixed for miscellaneous applications. TDSAT presently prescribes a fee of Rs 5000/- for the petitions and Rs 1000/- for Miscellaneous applications. CyAT required 6 copies of petitions to be submitted while in TDSAT, 5 copies may be sufficient but one additional copy is required to be given to the counter party.
TDSAT procedures include a specific “Mediation Procedure” which may be referred to the mediation center of the tribunal. The Mediation Center charges a nominal fee of Rs 1000/-. The fees of the Mediator and the Office expenses are borne by TDSAT. This is definitely a huge advantage for the small petitioners.
Naavi.org had raised two other points in its previous article which we would like to re-iterate.
First is the possibility of TDSAT holding its hearings outside Delhi in cities like Bangalore, or Chennai or Mumbai or any other place where the petitioners are located.
Second was the possibility of using online interactions through Video conferencing. If this is acceptable, the first requirement of holding sittings outside Delhi may not be that important.
The online hearings can also be extended to the Mediation process so that the need for travel of the petitioners and respondents to Delhi can be reduced.
Naavi.org has already drawn attention to the fact that it is ready to provide the services of ODRGLOBAL.IN where a facility is already available for conducting online arbitration supported by evidentiary capture of proceedings under Section 65B of Indian Evidence Act. ( More details are available at www.odrglobal.in). TDSAT may either use this facility itself or create a similar facility for its own use. If this suggestion is accepted, there would be a revolutionary change in the way justice is rendered to the petitioners.
Naavi would be happy to provide any assistance to TDSAT in implementing such technology innovations if required.
We look forward to how TDSAT approaches its new responsibilities for the cases transferred from CyAT.