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telecom 2G Spectram =In the result, we order that the appellants be released on bail on their executing a bond with two solvent sureties, each in a sum of `5 lakhs to the satisfaction of the Special Judge, CBI, New Delhi on the following conditions :- a. The appellants shall not directly or indirectly make any inducement, threat or promise to any person acquainted with the facts or the case so as to dissuade him to disclose such facts to the Court or to any other authority. 5

REPORTABLE   IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.2178 OF 2011 (Arising out of SLP (Crl.) No. 5650 of 2011)   Sanjay Chandra ………… Appellant versus CBI ………… Respondent along with CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.2179 OF 2011 (Arising out of SLP (Crl.) No. 5902 of 2011)   Vinod Goenka ………… Appellant … Continue reading

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997; Ss. 14, 16K and 18/Code of Civil Procedure, 1908; s.100, Order VIII Rule 6A/Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973; S.195: Telecom Disputes Settlement & Appellate Tribunal-Contract between Union of India, the Licensor and a service provider, the Licensee-Breach of terms of agreement-Damage-Claim and counter claim-Settlement of-Tribunal upheld the claim of Licensee rejecting the counter claim of licensor holding that it has no jurisdiction to entertain the counter claim-On appeal, Held: In the counter claim by Union of India, even if some vagueness noticed by the Tribunal, it could have directed the party concerned to remove the same in the interests of justice-Normally, a right to make a claim include a right to make a counter claim-There is no reason to whittle down the right so given in terms of s.14(1) of the Act-A dispute arising after the acceptance of a tender, pending issuance of licence even after the expiry of the stipulated time limit, would fall within the provisions of the s.14(a) of the Act-A Specialised Tribunal as TDSAT constituted for the purpose of dealing with specialised matters/disputes arising out of license granted under the Act-Any breach arising after acceptance of the offer of a Tender would normally be termed as disputes liable to be settled by the Specialised Tribunal-In terms of the procedure, as prescribed u/s 16 of the Act, the Tribunal shall not be bound by the procedure as laid down under Civil Procedure Code but shall be governed by the principles of Natural Justice-The dispute in the present case arises out of breach of conditions after accepting the letter of intent by one of the party, therefore, it could be settled by the Tribunal-Under the circumstances, TDSAT erred in dismissing the counter claim of the Licensor as not maintainable-Hence, the claim and the counter claim remanded to the Tribunal for adjudication afresh in accordance with law-Direction issued-Transfer of Property Act-Indian Contract Act, 1872-Administrative Law-Principles of Natural Justice. Jurisdiction of Telecom Disputes Settlement Appellate Tribunal-To entertain counter claim by the Union of India/Licensor-Held: Yes, TDSAT could entertain such a claim in terms of S. 14(1) and 14(A) of the Act. Appellant, Union of India, has invited tender for grant of licence in respect of certain Telecom Service Contract. In response, tender proposal of the respondent was considered by the appellant. The respondent, after having conveyed its acceptance of the Letter of Intent, failed to fulfil the promise made by it. Appellant raised a demand of certain sum as damage in lieu of breach of contract. Aggrieved, the respondent approached the Telecom Disputes Settlement & Appellate Tribunal praying for a declaration that the action of the Union of India in raising a claim and in recovering the amount as per its demand dated 10.8.1999, was bad in law and be set aside; for a declaration that the set off made by invoking condition 19 of the licence was illegal and unauthorised and for setting aside the same and for directing the appellant to refund the amount together with interest from the date of the purported set off of that amount with the amounts due to the respondent till the date of refund and for other consequential and incidental reliefs. Appellant, Union of India, had also filed an appeal counter claiming the same amount. The Tribunal upheld the claim of the respondent, rejecting the counter claim of the appellant-Union of India and also held that it has no jurisdiction to entertain a counter claim at the instance of the appellant. Hence the present appeal. =Allowing the appeal, the Court HELD: 1.1. It may be true that in the prayer portion in the written statement an order or decree in terms of the counter claim had not been sought for by the appellant. But the claim as made in the written statement relates to the claim based on the failure of the respondent, after having conveyed its acceptance of the Letter of Intent to provide service in the Karnataka Telecom Circle and the damages allegedly suffered by the appellant as a consequence and the entitlement of the appellant to reimbursement of the specified sum from the respondent. Even if there is some vagueness in the counter claim, as felt by the Telecom Disputes Settlement Appellate Tribunal, the TDSAT might have directed the appellant to make its counter claim more specific and in a proper manner. After all, a defect of deficiency could be permitted to be cured. Hence, this Court is not impressed by the argument on behalf of the respondent that the counter claim was rather vague and the same was rightly rejected for that reason by the TDSAT. After all, this vagueness can be directed to be removed in the interests of justice, if it were to be held that the counter claim can be maintained by the Union of India. [Para 4] [291-B, C, D] 1.2. Normally, when a specialised tribunal is constituted for dealing with disputes coming under it of a particular nature taking in serious technical aspects, the attempt must be to construe the jurisdiction conferred on it in a manner as not to frustrate the object sought to be achieved by the Act. In this context, the ousting of the jurisdiction of the Civil Court contained in Section 15 and Section 27 of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act has also to be kept in mind. The subject to be dealt with under the Act, has considerable technical overtones which normally a civil court, at least as of now, is ill-equipped to handle and this aspect cannot be ignored while defining the jurisdiction of the TDSAT. [Para 11] [295-C, D] 1.3. A specialised tribunal, TDSAT, has been constituted for the purpose of dealing with specialised matters and disputes arising out of licenses granted under the Act. Thus there exists, no reason to restrict the jurisdiction of the tribunal so constituted by keeping out of its purview a person whose offer has been accepted and to whom a letter of intent is issued by the Government and who had even accepted that letter of intent. Any breach or alleged breach of obligation arising after acceptance of the offer made in response to a Notice Inviting Tender, would also normally come within the purview of a dispute that is liable to settled by the specialised tribunal. Hence, no reason is found to restrict the expressions “licensor” or “licensee” occurring in Section 14(a)(i) of the Act and to exclude a person like the respondent who had been given a Letter of Intent regarding the Karnataka Circle, who had accepted the Letter of Intent but was trying to negotiate some further terms of common interest before a formal contract was entered into and the work was to be started. To exclude disputes arising between the parties thereafter on the failure of the contract to go through, does not appear to be warranted or justified considering the purpose for which the TDSAT has been established and the object sought to be achieved by the creation of a specialised tribunal. [Para 15] [297-D, E, F] Cellular Operators Association of India and Ors. v. Union of India and Ors., [2003] 3 SCC 186, relied on. 1.4. There is no reason to whittle down the right given to the Central Government to approach the TDSAT for adjudication of its claim which comes under Section 14(1) of the Act. Normally, a right to make a claim would also include a right to make a cross-claim or counter claim in the sense that the Central Government could always make an independent claim on matters covered under the Act and such a claim will have to be entertained by the TDSAT. This the Central Government could do even while it is defending a claim made against it in TDSAT, by way of a separate application. If a subject matter is capable of being raised before the TDSAT by the Central Government or the State Government by way of a claim by making an application under Section 14 of the Act, it would not be logical to hold that the same claim could not be made by way of a counter claim when the other side, namely, the licensee or consumers, had already approached the TDSAT with a claim of their own and the Central Government is called upon to defend it. It is, therefore, not possible to accept an argument that a counter claim by the Central Government or State Government cannot be entertained by the TDSAT. Hence, the TDSAT has jurisdiction to entertain a counter claim in the light of Section 14(1) and 14A of the Act. [Para 12] [295-F, G, H; 296-A, B] 1.5. A dispute commencing with the acceptance of a tender leading to the possible issue of a licence and disputes arising out of the grant of licence even after the period has expired would all come within the purview of Section 14(a) of the Act. To put it differently, Section 14 takes within its sweep disputes following the issue of a Letter of Intent pre grant of actual licence as also disputes arising out of a licence granted between a quondam licensee and the licensor. [Para 13] [296-E, F] 2. While prescribing the procedure under Section 16 of the Act, what is said is that the TDSAT shall not be bound by the procedure laid down by the Code of Civil Procedure but it shall be guided by the principles of natural justice. It is significant to note that it is not a case of exclusion of the powers under the Code of Civil Procedure and conferment of specific powers in terms of sub-section (2) of that Section. It is really a right given to the TDSAT even to go outside the procedural shackles imposed by the Code of Civil Procedure while dealing with a dispute before it. Therefore, it will be difficult to keep out the provisions for the filing of a counter claim enshrined in Order VIII Rule 6A of the Code of Civil Procedure which could be applied by the TDSAT. The sweep of Order VIII Rule 6A of the Code now takes in even claims independent of the one put forward in the application if it is one the respondent therein has against the applicant. On the whole, the TDSAT was in error in dismissing the counter claim as not maintainable. [Para 16] [298-C, D, E] 3. In the light of the finding that the counter claim is maintainable and it requires to be investigated, the proper course is to set aside the finding rendered by the TDSAT on the plea of set off raised by the appellant. This is in view of the fact that acceptance of the counter claim or even a part thereof might throw open the question of legal or equitable set-off, to be considered in the light of the finding on the counter claim. Therefore, this is an appropriate case where the whole matter should be reopened without going into the merits of the contentions of parties on the plea of set off raised by the appellant and leave the question to be decided by the TDSAT along with the counter claim that has been made by the appellant. On taking note of the objection that the counter claim has not been made specific and has not been put forward in a proper manner, that it would be appropriate to direct the appellant to make a proper counter claim before the TDSAT. The TDSAT thereafter will give the respondent an opportunity to file its written statement to the counter claim and then decide the claim made by the respondent and the counter claim afresh in accordance with law. [Para 17] [298-E, H; 299-A] Mohan Prasaran, ASG, Mohit Choudhary, Manish Jain, Pooja Sharma, V.K. Verma and Shreekant N. Terdal for the Appellant. Dr. A.M. Singhvi, Ramji Srinivasan, Ruby Singh Ahuja, Prashant Kumar Mishra, Simran Brar, Amit Bhandari, Jainul Abdin, Mandakini Singh, Rhythm Anand Bhardwaj and Manik Karanjawala for the Respondent.

CASE NO.: Appeal (civil) 1033 of 2004 PETITIONER: UNION OF INDIA RESPONDENT: TATA TELESERVICES (MAHARASHTRA) LTD DATE OF JUDGMENT: 23/08/2007 BENCH: H.K. SEMA & P.K. BALASUBRAMANYAN JUDGMENT: J U D G M E N T P.K. BALASUBRAMANYAN, J. 1. This appeal by the Union of India, the respondent in a proceeding before the Telecom Disputes … Continue reading

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