The Madras HC has directed the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to put an end to the menace of obscene messages being sent to harried customers without their consent. In doing so, Justice Chitra Venkataraman of the Madras HC also noted that it was ‘high time’ that the regulator got rid of the problem.
By now, most would know of this issue plaguing cellphone users – receiving obscene messages without consent. The Madras HC, by way of its order, acted upon the petition of a certain V S Suresh, who stated that he was using a private service provider two years ago when he received such obscene messages without his consent. He added that despite filing a complaint, the slew of messages continued and he was also charged money for it.
Madras HC directs TRAI to end the menace of obscene messages (Image credit: Getty Images)
Suresh then moved to a local court, after the police paid no heed to his complaint. It was only after the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate's court directed that the police registered his case, following which an FIR was filed in January last year. Suresh has further alleged that the police took his mobile phone for investigation, which they are yet to return. He added that his petition seeking direction to the authorities to return his mobile phone was also pending. Last year, Suresh sent representatiosn twice to Chairman, TRAI and Telecommunications Secretary seeking action against the service provider, and it is after he got no response from them that he filed the writ petition.
In his ruling, Justice Venkataraman noted, “Considering the nature of the complaint made, which is a matter of common agony for even those who may not be petitioners before this court, this court feels that it is time that the first respondent (TRAI) looks into the grievance of the petitioner and put an end to the harassment sent through messages, immediately.” Suresh has now been asked to give a copy of the representation to the service provider, who would be required to look into the matter and do the necessary.
In a written reply to Lok Sabha recently, Minister of State for Communications and IT Milind Deora shared that TRAI had received 2,140 service related complaints against operators till June in 2012-13 fiscal. Deora said, “Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has received 2,140 service related complaints, which include deficient and unsatisfactory services in 2012-13, up to June 2012, against telecom operators, including BSNL and MTNL.”
Deora went on to add that the regulatory body received 3,551 complaints in 2009-10, 2,401 in 2010-11 and as many as 4,133 complaints in 2011-12. He affirmed that the individual complaints had been forwarded to the concerned provider for redressal. According to Deora, the regulatory body has put into effect a web-based 'Telecom Consumers Complaint Monitoring System' that will allow consumers to file their complaints with their service providers. This way, consumers can check the status of their complaints online, based on the docket number.