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Circuit bench of TDSAT in Chennai now

People from Tamil Nadu or Chennai facing issues with airport tariff, telecom and broadcasting companies, cyber complaints or Aadhaar related problems need not travel to Delhi to get justice. The circuit bench of Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) has commenced in Chennai.

For the first time in over two decades, since the TDSAT was established in 2000, the circuit bench was conducted in the city. However, senior advocates have highlighted the need for a separate court hall for the tribunal as the first session was held in a hotel on Anna Salai.

On Friday, more than 20 petitions, mostly broadcast petitions, came up before Justice Dhirubhai Naranbhai Patel, chairperson, and member Subodh Kumar Gupta. Out of this 15 were disposed of.

“TDSAT is in Delhi and citizens from other parts of the country, especially Southern States, were deprived of approaching the tribunal, not only due to distance but also cost factor. There was an undeniable need for regional bench in an IT hub like Chennai,” said P Wilson, senior advocate and member of parliament.

However, he felt that a separate building needs to be allotted for the tribunal. “I would request Justice T Raja, acting chief justice, Madras High Court, to consider setting aside few court halls in the proposed multi storied combined court building for circuit or regional benches of tribunals,” said Wilson.

This request was made by him at a seminar on telecom, broadcasting and cyber sectors – disputes and regulations – organised by TDSAT in the city on Saturday.

Responding to Wilson’s request, the Acting Chief Justice assured that he would consider the request for the separate space if the TDSAT sends an official communication. “TDSAT has a larger jurisdiction than the High Courts. The tribunal has more power, challengers than High Court, so you have more duties to discharge,” said Justice Raja.

Speaking at the event, Justice M M Sundaresh, judge, Supreme Court of India, wanted students of law to understand, appreciate and adopt to changing scenario when telecommunication is playing a pivotal role in breaking boundaries.

“I would like to thank and congratulate chairperson Justice D N Patel for taking efforts to introduce the circuit bench in Chennai. The permanent regional benches, I would only imagine they are of necessity; therefore, they will come one day. An explosion of disputes will be there. Access to justice is a constitutional right, a right which has been repeatedly emphasised by the apex court. Please get exposed and serve litigants,” he said.

Justice D N Patel, chairperson, TDSAT, said that from its inception till January 31,2023, a total of 15,429 petitions were filed and out of this 10,357 have been disposed of. “From March 14, 2022 when I took over, till January 31, 2023, a total of 955 cases were taken up and out of this 844 were disposed,” he added.

S Sankaranarayanan, additional solicitor general of India, South, also addressed the audience. ToI

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