The Delhi High Court on Friday removed the 200-SMS per day ceiling put by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on sending SMSes per SIM per day, saying that “it infringes on the freedom of speech of the citizens and the conditions imposed upon the freedom of speech, protected under Article 19 (2) of the Constitution.”
However the ceiling will continue on commercial SMSes. However court has allowed TRAI to create further guidelines, saying even non-UCCs voice calls/SMSes may impinge upon the rights of privacy of others. Therefore, it would always be open to TRAI to regulate such freedom of speech as well in so far to protect the rights of the receivers. However, the provision in the present form is not made keeping in view that objective.
The Bench quashed the ceiling on non-commercial SMSes on a public interest litigation by non-government organisation Telecom Watchdog.
The petitioner through its counsel Prashant Bhushan submitted that the order issued by the TRAI was a violation of the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression and against the democratic norms.
The petitioner further alleged that TRAI had done this at the behest of the Government to check communications in general under the garb of checking unsolicited commercial communications.