The TDSAT Revisited

Reports by Judicial Reform · June 14, 2016
Author(s): Arghya Sengupta, Medha Srivastava and Sumathi Chandrashekaran

This study takes an in-depth look into the working of the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) in the past few years. Vidhi has earlier looked at the TDSAT in its series on the State of the Nation’s Tribunals, where we examined different aspects of the functioning of the body, such as disposal and efficiency, the extent of judicial interference, tribunalisation and associated issues.

For this study, we took a deeper dive into the working of the TDSAT in recent years, relying on data collected from the TDSAT itself. The data revealed marked changes in the functioning and mandate of the Tribunal. For instance, the majority of cases brought before the TDSAT pertain to the broadcasting, rather than telecom, sector. The TDSAT’s role as an appellate body also appears to be diminishing, with the body being used mainly as a tribunal of first instance. During the course of our research and findings, we also interacted with the present Chairperson, as well as officers of the Registry of the Tribunal to understand how it worked, and what the challenges of running a highly specialised tribunal such as the TDSAT were.

While the disposal rate of the TDSAT is fairly healthy and it continues to work with reasonable efficiency, data pointed to certain administrative and functional issues for the Tribunal. In light of these issues, our report puts forth suggestions to ensure the Tribunal works with greater efficiency than ever before.

Download the report on the TDSAT

About Arghya Sengupta:

Arghya is the Founder and Research Director at Vidhi. His areas of specialisation are constitutional law and regulation of the digital economy. He has served on a number of government committees including most recently the Justice B.N. Srikrishna-led committee of experts on a data protection framework for India. Arghya has a number of academic publications on the Supreme Court, Parliament, fundamental rights in leading law journals such as Law Quarterly Review and Public Law. He is also a columnist at The Telegraph, The Hindustan Times and The Times of India. He has most recently authored a book "Independence and Accountability of the Indian Higher Judiciary" (Cambridge, 2019) which builds on his doctoral work at Oxford University. Prior to founding Vidhi, he was at Oxford as a Lecturer in Administrative Law at Pembroke College. Link to full bio

About Medha Srivastava:

About Sumathi Chandrashekaran:

Sumathi Chandrashekaran is a lawyer working in the field of public policy. She has previously worked at Vidhi as a Senior Resident Fellow and led our Judicial Reforms Vertical. Sumathi has completed her LLB from Delhi University, and a post-graduate course in public policy from Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore.