Reliance Jio files lawsuit against Airtel, Vi for destroying its infrastructure

  • The state has suggested to the court that it will be easier for them to decipher the hidden codes of the case if the petitioner shares information regarding “vested interest involved”
  • To prevent further damage to the petitioner’s infrastructure, the state has ensured to appoint 22 nodal officers along with setting up 1019 patrolling parties in the 27 districts

After accusing Bharti Airtel and Vodafone-Idea of sabotaging the network and illegal MNP campaign in the wake of the farmer’s protest, Reliance Jio has now filed a lawsuit against its rivals. In the plea, Jio has urged for an immediate intercede by the central and state government to prevent the unlawful sabotage. The single-judge bench, including justice Sudhir Mittal, has passed notice to the respondents in the matter that include the state of Punjab, ministry of home affairs, and director-general of police, Punjab. 

A couple of days back, Jio accused Vodafone-Idea and Airtel of using its channel partners to sabotage its network deliberately. Mukesh Ambani complained to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) that ‘blatant efforts’ are being used by the rivals to reduce its number of users.

Jio sent a letter to  Anshu Prakash, secretary, Department of Telecommunications (DoT), and P.D. Vaghela, chairman, TRAI, mentioning that serious situations have commenced in Punjab and Haryana in the middle of ongoing farmer’s demurral. 

In an interaction with The Electronics, Parv Sharma, research analyst of Counterpoint Research said, “It might be the political reason because we are still not sure who is actually involved and there is no substantial evidence to prove the allegation. If you look from a long term perspective, operators who offer better services will grow. So, if you are doing this for short-term, it won’t be that fruitful. Mobile Number Portability (MNP) is not illegal. Currently, there are disruptions of the internet in many areas of the country and hence, people are doing MNPs and moving to other networks.”

While filing the petition in the High Court, Reliance Jio has stated that its telecom infrastructures are being damaged by the malefactors such as vandalizing technical cables of Jio towers and disconnecting power supplies. 

In the lawsuit, the plea filer has argued that the rivals have personal interests in unfurling false rumours against Jio and that is why over 1500 Jio towers are claimed to have been damaged. Reliance in its official statement said: “We won’t purchase any agricultural lands. Suppliers will buy from farmers at MSP.”

While hearing the plea, Punjab’s advocate general Atul Nanda argued that the state has taken necessary action against the allegation of Reliance Jio. And to prevent further damage to the petitioner’s infrastructure, the state has ensured to appoint 22 nodal officers along with setting up 1019 patrolling parties in the 27 districts. The state notified the court that the towers, which were destroyed by the ‘black hats’ are not functioning properly and neither has been recovered.  

Now, the question is whether the court should pass any judgement upon the petitioner’s plea or not because according to the telecom experts there is no accurate evidence to prove the vandalism.

In this light, Dr. Karnika Seth, senior law practitioner, Supreme Court of India, told The Electronics, “As of now, the petitioner has only alleged that the damage was done by the miscreants, and so, the onus is now on the petitioner to substantiate with evidence because a mere averment will not suffice. The court has only issued a notice in this matter. The further examination of the case and evidence on merits will be required to reach conclusive findings.”

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