NEW DELHI: Taking a serious view of unsolicited calls received by subscribers of mobile phones, the Supreme Court on Thursday directed the Centre to disconnect from August 1 the telemarketing companies which have not registered themselves with the ‘Do Not Call Registry’ of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India.
A Bench of Justice A.K. Mathur and Justice Dalveer Bhandari gave this direction after counsel for the petitioner, Vivek Thanka, submitted that pesky calls made to mobile phone users by telemarketing companies had not stopped completely despite government efforts. Counsel said though three months’ time was given last March to the telemarketing companies to register in the ‘Do Not Call Registry,’ most of them had not registered themselves.
Justice Mathur told Additional Solicitor-General Gopal Subramanian that the fundamental right to privacy of mobile phone users was being violated by some telemarketing companies which had been making the calls despite their registration with the ‘Do Not Call Registry’.
The Bench said the government had failed to curb the menace as it seemed to support these companies rather than looking into the plight of the common man. The Bench directed the government to give a distinct number to the telemarketing firms so that they were easily identifiable if they violated the norms against unsolicited calls.
It also suggested introduction of a new ‘Do Call Register’ facility to curb the menace of unsolicited calls. Such a facility would enable enlisting the names of mobile phone users who wish to receive calls related to promotional schemes, the Bench said. Telemarketing companies would be allowed to call only these mobile phone users. Once such a facility was in place, unsolicited calls made to all those subscribers “who do not register for it would become illegal”.
The Bench asked the Centre to file a compliance report within six weeks.
The petitioner, Harsh Pathak, advocate, submitted that there was no mechanism to implement these regulations. He said indiscriminate calls landing on mobile phones were a clear invasion of the privacy of subscribers.
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