The Delhi High Court yesterday had set aside a TRAI decision to put a cap on SMSes for personal communication, while it upheld the decision to cap commercial SMSes on a daily basis.
The court observed, “We are, therefore, of the opinion that the impugned provision (of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) insofar as it covers non-UCCs (Unrestricted Unsolicited Commercial Communications) SMS in the present form as it exists, infringes the freedom of speech of the citizens” for unsolicited commercial SMSes. The court rejected the plea that unsolicited commercial communications (UCC) enjoys immunity of under the provision of freedom of speech and communication under the constitution.
The court went on to state further that even if UCCs fall under the constitutional provision of freedom of speech and communication, ‘reasonable restrictions’ can be placed on the number of UCCs sent everyday.
Citing a Supreme Court judgement, the court said that when a person is speaking, the other person has the right to choose whether he/she should listen or decline.
But, on the other hand, the Delhi High Court rapped the telecom body for putting a curb on personal communication. The court observed that the TRAI’s order restricting personal SMSes daily was in violation of the Article 19(2) of the constitution which guarantees the citizen freedom of speech and expression.