"We are of the opinion... The respondent (BSNL) is restrained from disconnecting the PoIs of the petitioner (RCom) which have not been disconnected and restore those which have been disconnected on the petitioner's depositing the entire principal amount and 50% of the amount of interest," the tribunal said.
The direction of the court came over a plea of RCom which has challenged a demand note issued by BSNL on December 30, 2010, asking it to deposit Rs 68 crore, including interest, for two circles UP West and Orissa as access deficit charge.
BSNL had also threatened to disconnect its PoI if the Anil Ambani group firm failed to meet the payment demand. The bill was raised for 2005-06 period.
PoIs between two operators are a must for subscribers to make and receive calls from different networks. ADC is a levy paid by private telecom operators for funding the PSU's rural and remote operations.
BSNL had already disconnected some of RCom PoIs for failing to pay the ADC within the required period.
Senior counsel C S Baidyanathan, appearing for RCom, said the company disputes the charges imposed by BSNL as it had not provided call data record (CDR).
He also said that till the dispute was settled, no interest should be charged. However, the state-firm has charged a hefty amount of about Rs 41 crore as interest.
Baidyanathan said the agreement between BSNL and RCom didn't provide that interest shall be charged at a rate of Rs 25,000 per month and contended that it could charge a maximum rate of 24%.
RCom is ready to pay the principal amount demanded by BSNL as ADC, he said.
However, BSNL counsel Pratibha Maninder Singh said that it is settled principle that walky is a mobile service and RCom was not entitled to raise dispute regarding the principal amount and interest after a period of five years.
The bill had been raised 5 year ago and RCom was aware of its liability. RCom had deliberately delayed the payment and now was liable to interest, the counsel said.