The Indian Government intends to amend the Indian Telegraph Act, to enable subscribers to approach consumer forums for redressal of their telecom related grievances, reports PTI (via Zee News). The report quotes a Department of Telecom official who said that the government might make the amendment within the current fiscal. The step is also a part of the objectives under the New Telecom Policy, laid down by the government to ensure grievance redressal in matters related to telecom operators.

At the moment, consumer forums do not cover telecom related consumer grievances and the customer has to approach the service provider’s customer care for the resolution of his complaint. If the customer care is not able to resolve it, the subscriber can approach the Nodal Officer, and if still not satisfied, the only place he can take his grievance to, is the Appellate Authority, which is also appointed by the service provider.

Consumer Forums have reportedly been dismissing cases pertaining to telecom disputes, following a Supreme Court verdict which ruled that these cases fall under the ambit of the Indian Telegraph Act. In case of disputes, the only option which remains with the consumer is filing a civil suite, which could involve a large amount of time and money.

Even though the consumer has the option to file a complaint with the TRAI, it is adressed to the service provider’s Appellate Authority who takes a decision. Earlier, the TRAI had launched a centralised portal for consumers, Telecom Consumers Complaint Monitoring System (TCCMS) portal (www.tccms.gov.in), to locate contact details of telecom operators’ customer care, general information helplines and of their respective appellate authority. However, the portal only helps in connecting consumers with complaint desks of their telecom operators, and is not involved in the process, except for monitoring the status of redressal of complaints filed by consumers.