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Bombay HC asks Centre to set up ombudsman for telecom sector

The Bombay High Court has asked the Centre to instate an ombudsman for the telecom sector, a move that will aid redressal of consumers’ complaints. The court further directed the government to submit a plan for this in a month’s time. The ombudsman will be sort of a public lawyer, who can be approached by consumers in case of disputes with the telecom service provider. The Division Bench of Justice SS Kemkar and Justice MS Karnik was hearing a petition filed by Gansham Ramchandani. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has been recommending this move for complaint redressal for a while. In its latest recommendation for the new telecom policy, the authority reiterated this as well. The Bombay HC also asked the Central government to respond to TRAI’s recommendations. In March, the TRAI has also told the DoT that setting up an ombudsman in the sector would have the power to levy penalties on the telecom service providers. Once the Centre’s plan is submitted, there will be more clarity on the mechanism of the ombudsman’s functioning, however, TRAI in March had told the DoT that the public advocate should have the power to levy penalties on service providers. The TRAI has a Telecom Consumers Complaint Monitoring System, but that only allows consumers to file complaints and monitor the progress. The complaints are forwarded to the service providers, as the TRAI is not responsible for their redressal. For years, there has been little clarity to telecom users on complaint redressal.…

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