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Unlimited SMSes says Delhi High Court

Now you can send as many SMS in a days as you want. Delhi High Court in a landmark verdict quashed the 200 SMSes per day per SIM restriction placed by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), saying the cap infringed upon freedom of speech of the people. The court, however, upheld the restriction on unsolicited text messages.

The Bench dismissed the cap on SMSes on a public interest litigation by a NGO called Telecom Watchdog. The petitioner said the ceiling on the text messages issued by TRAI was against the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression.

A Division Bench of the Court comprising Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw said that the TRAI should work on ‘appropriate regulations’ to control unsolicited non-commercial communications (non-UCCS) that is reasonable with the Article 19(2) of the Constitution, which mainly deals with freedom of speech.

The court also clarified that the even non-UCCs voice calls and SMSes infringed upon the rights of privacy of people. “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 is quoted as saying.

Last year, the telecom regulatory body announced a ceiling of 100 SMSes per day SIM – a move aimed at preventing telemarketers from bombarding users’ mobiles with unwanted calls and SMS. Later, the telecom regulatory body increased the cap from 100 to 200 SMSes after severe criticism.

Imposing a restriction on number of SMSes never seemed to be a good idea as telemarketers have started using multiple SIMs for sending pesky texts. The SMS guidelines definitely needed much more clarity and simplicity for the common man – which is most likely to be the case after the HC verdict.

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