Writ Petition filed by Star India dismissed for want of maintainability

Delhi High Court– Dismissing the writ petition filed by the petitioner challenging the orders of Telecom Disputes Settlement & Appellate Tribunal’s (TDSAT) on the ground that the procedure adopted by the TDSAT in making the orders and the jurisdiction exercised in issuing the directions contained therein is beyond the powers of TDSAT under the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Act, 1997, the bench of R.S Endlaw J., held the petition to be not maintainable. The Court observed that jurisdiction cannot be exercised by this Court under Article 226 of the Constitution owing to the availability of alternative remedy of appeal under Section 18 of the TRAI Act

The petitioner had filed the petition as it was asked by the TDSAT to disclose the agreements it had entered into with Multi System Operator (MSO). The matter was listed before the TDSAT on 12 January. This Court while reserving its judgment in the present case, in an earlier hearing had directed the tribunal to defer the hearing scheduled on 12.01.2016 to a date after three weeks. Gopal Jain, Senior Counsel appearing for the petitioner contended that TDSAT has in the impugned orders stepped out from its adjudicatory role into regulatory function which under the TRAI Act is of the TRAI and not of the TDSAT. Per contra the counsel for respondent 4 on being asked the stand of TRAI contended that TDSAT in the impugned orders has interpreted the Regulations and TRAI did not find any fault with the impugned orders. Considering the contentions of both the parties, the Court was only concerned with the maintainability issue.

The Court relied on Dinkar Kumar v. Union of India 2014 SCC OnLine Del 2288 and Commissioner of Income Tax v. Chhabil Dass Agarwal (2014) 1 SCC 603 wherein it was held that the High Court will not entertain a petition under Article 226 on the exceptional grounds of violation of principles of natural justice or the order being wholly without jurisdiction or the vires of the Statute being under challenge, if an effective alternative remedy is available to the aggrieved person or the Statute under which the action complained of has been taken itself contains a mechanism for redressal of grievance. Thus, owing to the alternative remedy this petition was dismissed. [Star India Private Ltd. v.  Noida Software Technology Park Ltd,  2016 SCC Online Del 6690,  decided on 22.01.2016]

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