New Delhi: Telecom tribunal TDSAT on Monday set aside DoT's order to impose liquidated damages on Idea Cellular for missing roll-out obligations, saying the private company was denied an opportunity to present its case which is against natural justice.

The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSA) has asked the DoT to start the process afresh after observing that it has ignored the established procedures while arriving at the conclusion.

The tribunal observed that DoT while imposing liquidated damages on Idea had not given a fair chance to Idea to present its views and it was violation of natural justice.

The tribunal's order came over a batch of petitions filed by Idea Cellular challenging imposition of liquidated damages worth Rs 27.65 crore for delay in the roll-out of services in five circles-- Karnataka, Punjab, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra.

Idea Cellular was asked to pay for Karnataka and Punjab service areas, whereas for the three circles--Haryana, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra-- Idea had acquired licences from Spice Telecom and was made to pay for missing deadlines.

Earlier in September as well, the tribunal had set aside a Rs 30-lakh penalty imposed on Idea for delay in the roll-out obligations in West Bengal circle.

The tribunal had directed the DoT to pay Rs 25,000 to Idea as litigation cost after observing that government itself had violated the mandatory contractual obligation and such penalty was "violative of a level-playing field".

(Agencies)