Delhi HC sets aside 200 SMSs cap for personal messages

Telecom Lead India: The Delhi High Court has set aside
the cap of 200 SMSs per day sent through a mobile phone SIM for personal
communications but upheld the curb on unwanted commercial SMSs saying they
infringed the equally important right to privacy of unwilling recipients.

We are, therefore, of the opinion that the impugned
provision (of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) insofar as it covers
non-UCCs (Unrestricted Unsolicited Commercial Communications) SMS in the
present form as it exists, infringes the freedom of speech of the citizens. And
the conditions imposed upon the freedom of speech is not reasonable which would
be protected under Article 19 (2) (which deals with reasonable restrictions of
freedom of speech) of the Constitution,” a bench of Acting Chief Justice A K
Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw said.

The bench, however, made a distinction for unsolicited
commercial calls and said that the restriction imposed by the TRAI on them was

We have already pointed out that the TRAI has found that
UCC calls and SMSs were interfering with the personal lives of the individuals
as often telemarketers would call them up for selling their products. All such
calls sere unsolicited, i.e., the receiving party does not want to receive such
calls or messages. These UCC messages disturb the recipients, intrude into
their privacy, and impose a cost in terms of the time and efforts. In fact,
they infringe the equally importance rights of the unwilling recipients,” it

Partly allowing the petition of Anil Kumar, secretary of
NGO Telecom Watchdog, the court, however, granted liberty to TRAI to come out
with more appropriate regulations for regulating unsolicited non-UCCs SMSs that
could meet the test of reasonableness under the Constitution.  With inputs from PTI

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