Delhi High Court quashes 200 SMSes per day per SIM restriction
Now you can send as many SMSes you want to! Delhi High Court in a landmark verdict quashed the 200 SMSes per day per SIM restriction placed by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), saying the cap infringed upon freedom of speech of the people. The court, however, upheld the restriction on unsolicited text messages.
Quashing the provision, a Division Bench of the Court comprising Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw said that the TRAI should work on 'appropriate regulations' to control unsolicited non-UCCs ((unsolicited non-commercial communications) SMSes that is reasonable with the Article 19(2) of the Constitution, which mainly deals with freedom of speech.
The court also clarified that the even non-UCCs voice calls and SMSes infringed upon the rights of privacy of people. “Therefore, it would always be open to TRAI to regulate such freedom of speech as well in so far to protect the rights of the receivers. However, the provision in the present form is not made keeping in view that objective,” the Bench is quoted as saying.
The Bench dismissed the cap on SMSes on a public interest litigation by a NGO called Telecom Watchdog. The petitioner said the ceiling on the text messages issued by TRAI was against the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression.
Last year, the telecom regulatory body announced a ceiling of 100 SMSes per day SIM - a move aimed at preventing telemarketers from bombarding users' mobiles with unwanted calls and SMS. Later, the telecom regulatory body increased the cap from 100 to 200 SMSes after severe criticism.
The cap on text messages had most disappointed the youth, which preferred SMSing for most of their communications. However, the SMS restriction had a much larger impact. The Kerala Association for the Deaf had criticised the teleom regulatory body, saying the text messages had been main mode of communications for the people with hearing disabilities.
Imposing a restriction on number of SMSes never seemed to be a good idea as telemarketers have started using multiple SIMs for sending pesky texts. The SMS guidelines definitely needed much more clarity and simplicity for the common man – which is most likely to be the case after the HC verdict.