The Indian Supreme Court has put a stay on Telecom tribunal, Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) order which had quashed the TRAI’s directive of limiting the number of SMS to 200 per day, per SIM, according to a PTI report (via The Times Of India). This essentially means that the TRAI can impose a limit on the number of messages a user sends from one SIM card, till the Court vacates the stay.
We were not able to locate the exact document which mentions the stay order but there is a record on the Supreme Court’s website related to the case that lists Aditya Thackeray as a respondent, and mentions the status of the case as ‘Pending’. Note that there was a separate petition filed in the Delhi High Court filed by Anil Kumar, secretary of an NGO, Telecom Watchdog in December 2011, following which, the Court had removed the 200 SMS/day limit, saying that the SMS spam guidelines infringe the freedom of speech of the citizens, and the conditions imposed upon citizens were not reasonable, in July 2012. Note that the TRAI has already done away with the daily SMS limit and subscribers are now free to send SMSs beyond 100 in a day, however, it had directed that all SMSs sent beyond one hundred SMS per day per SIM, shall be charged at a rate not lower than fifty paise.
So we’re not sure if the stay means that the daily limit of 200 SMS/day will be effective again, or whether it’s upto the TRAI to impose that restriction.
Should there be a daily limit?
While the daily limit on free SMS might have deterred some spammers who only rely on promotional SMS packs, others continue to spam with no limit being imposed on paid messages. Although, the TRAI had also directed telcos to implement other solutions, including putting in place, a solution, which ensures that no commercial SMSs are sent containing same or similar characters or strings or variants from any source or number, sending warning to consumers,and taking an undertaking from consumers, we’re still seeing customers gettings a large number of commercial messages, even after being registered in the Do Not Disturb register. While, we do understand that putting a daily limit affects users who communicate majorly through the medium, the TRAI might think of putting a revised limit, to curb spam from unregistered telemarketers.