The apex court had reimposed the restriction of 200 SMSes that can be sent in per day per SIM
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday stayed order issued by Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT), which had quashed the sector regulator Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI)'s circular limiting the number of SMSes to 200 per day per SIM, reports PTI.
In a brief hearing, a bench headed by Justice GS Singhvi stayed the tribunal's order and issued notice to late Balasaheb Thackeray's grandson Aditya on whose plea TDSAT had passed the order.
The apex court passed the order on an appeal filed by TRAI challenging tribunal's order and asked Thackeray to respond to regulator's plea within six weeks.
With today's stay order, the sector regulator can enforce the circular till the apex court vacates its stay on the verdict by the TDSAT.
TDSAT had on 17th July termed the ceiling on SMSes as "arbitrary" and against the right of freedom of speech and expression guaranteed under the Constitution and had set aside the sector regulator TRAI's circular.
Uddhav Thackeray's son Aditya had submitted that the restriction on SMSes was just a "non-application of mind" by TRAI and the circular fixing ceiling "has not explained why and how the figure of 100/200 SMS(s) per day was arrived at."
He had further contended that no consultation process was adopted by TRAI before incorporating the clause in this regard in the Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preference (8th Amendment) Regulation, 2011.
TRAI had permitted sending only 100 SMSes per day per SIM except on blackout days or days specially notified by it.
However, on 1 November 2011, it had increased the limit to 200 SMSes per day, per SIM.
The new pension product meets with IRDA guidelines and offers capital protection. If that is all it guarantees, a bank recurring deposit scheme (though taxable) is much better option
The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority’s (IRDA) guidelines mandate some guarantee of returns from pension products. In short, today IRDA only wants capital protection for pension products. HDFC Life has launched Pension Super Plus and Single Premium Pension Super offering a guarantee of 1% p.a. Will savers be interested?
While the actual fund performance may give a much higher return, will customers put money into a long-term product of 10 to 20 years and only be guaranteed of 1% p.a. return. What is so unique about pension products when a customer can easily put the same money in 10-year recurring deposits (RD) and still get guaranteed 9% p.a.? A pension product mandates annuity after completion of accumulation phase after taking out maximum of one-third of the corpus tax free. Savers can as well buy immediate annuity product after generating decent corpus with RDs.
HDFC Life’s pension products will have equity exposure of 0% to 60%, which can only be controlled by the insurance company. Only time will tell how much is really invested in equity and what are the actual returns from the product. The insurance company may play safe if it feels that equity exposure can lead to losses.
The new guidelines mandate annuity phase from the same insurance company. If it is not the best offer, the policyholder is still stuck with the same insurance company. HDFC Life has also launched New Immediate Annuity Plan. While the corpus generated during the accumulation phase is tax-free, the annuity payout is taxable. HDFC annuity rates are competitive, but lesser than LIC annuity rates for many age groups. Pension product customers will have to accept the annuity rates offered at the end of accumulation phase.
Annuity products with return of purchase price allow the principal amount to be given to the beneficiaries only after the death of annuitant. In short, the money put in any annuity product is locked for lifetime; the annuitant will only get fixed rate of return every year. HDFC Life New Immediate Annuity Plan has an innovative option of “return of 100% of the purchase price on diagnosis of critical illness or death”. Upon the annuitant being diagnosed with any of the six specified illnesses before age 85 or on death of the annuitant, whichever occurs earlier, the annuity payments will cease and 100% of the purchase price of the annuity will be payable.
The assured death benefit is total premiums paid to date accumulated at a guaranteed rate of 6% p.a. Pension products are not for those looking for decent life insurance component. It is mainly for investment purposes for generating retirement corpus. Insurance companies bargained hard to remove the non-zero return for policy surrender. Giving such a guarantee at anytime during the policy term was termed unrealistic by insurers; non-zero returns on maturity is what insurers will have to offer.
Regulations governing pensions post-September 2010 mandated a 4.5% minimum guarantee. But that did not attract much interest from insurance companies except LIC. There was an argument that giving 4.5% p.a. for long-term accumulation phase of premium payable every year was difficult because there were not enough debt instruments to lock in. Giving only non-zero returns does have the insurer interested, but will the insured bite the bait? If there is a separate category created for tax deductions (other than 80C) for pension investment that will kick-start the investment in pension products. Pension sales for insurance companies fell from 30% to less than 3% in the last couple of years.
HDFC Life Pension Super Plus
Entry and Maturity Age: Minimum age at entry is 35 years and maximum age is 65 years. Minimum age at vesting is 55 years and maximum vesting age is 75 years.
Policy term: 10, 15 and 20 years
Minimum Premium: Rs24,000 per year
Maximum Premium: No limit
Death benefit: The assured death benefit is total premiums paid to date accumulated at a guaranteed rate of 6% p.a.
Vesting benefit: Assured benefit of 101% of total premiums paid
Fund option: Cash and Money market instruments–0% to 40%; government securities and fixed income instruments–40% to 100% and equity of 0% to 60%.
HDFC Life Single Premium Pension Super
Entry and Maturity Age: Minimum age at entry is 40 years and maximum age is 75 years. Minimum age at vesting is 50 years and maximum vesting age is 85 years.
Policy term: 10 years
Minimum Premium: Rs25,000
Maximum Premium: No limit
Death benefit: The assured death benefit is 101% of total premiums paid
Vesting benefit: Assured benefit of 101% of total premiums paid
Fund option: Cash and Money market instruments–0% to 40%; government securities and fixed income instruments–40% to 100% and Equity of 0% to 60%.
This particular case highlights the careless way in which reports of Commissions of enquiry are lost over the years. It makes one wonder if we should not stress more on adherence to some timeframes. This is the sixth in a series of important judgements given by Shailesh Gandhi, former CIC that can be used or quoted in an RTI application
The public information officer (PIO) or other person responsible for not providing information to an applicant within the stipulated time can be summoned and penalised under the Right to Information (RTI) Act. While giving this important judgement, Shailesh Gandhi, former Central Information Commissioner noted that the actions of the PIO attract the penal provisions of Section 20(1) of the RTI Act.
“...it is apparent that the PIO is guilty of not furnishing information within the time specified under sub-section (1) of Section 7 by not replying within 30 days, as per the requirement of the RTI Act. It appears that the PIO’s actions attract the penal provisions of Section 20(1). If there are other persons responsible for the delay in providing the information to the appellant, then the PIO is directed to inform such persons of the show-cause hearing and direct them to appear before the Commission with him,” the Central Information Commission (CIC) said in its order issued on 17 September 2010.
Delhi-based Suroor Mander sought information and certified copies from the PIO of the Lok Sabha about the Jain-Aggarwal Committee Report, Banerjee, Misra & Marwah Commission Report on the 1984 Anti-Sikh Riots with its annexures as well as all other documents related to the Commission of inquiry.
Ms Mander also sought reports and action taken reports of various commissions...
Assuming that it does not have the reports, the PIO, Lok Sabha transferred the RTI application to the ministry of home affairs (MHA). The MHA also did not have the reports and transferred the application of Ms Mander to the Chief Secretary, who then forwarded it to Divisional Commissioner of Delhi. The Divisional Commissioner, in turn transferred the application to Home Department of the Delhi government. The PIO at the Home Department of Delhi could not locate the reports sought by Ms Mander and tried to provide some of the reports. However, nobody from the government could provide the Marwah Commission, the Dhillon Commission and the Narula Commission reports on the 1984 Anti-Sikh riots.
The CIC noted that it appears that a number of Commissions have made hay on the Anti-Sikh Riots and given reports which have not delivered any justice to the victims and yet these reports cannot be located. The appellant naively believes that the government would have acted on these reports, whereas it appears nobody is even aware of what these reports said, it said.
The PIO and joint secretary, Government of NCT of Delhi also refused to provide the Kapur-Mittal report on the 1984 Anti-Sikh riots citing official secrets. He stated that, "...the report of Kapur-Mittal Committee has been marked as secret and therefore cannot be disclosed under the provisions of Official Secret Act, 1923”.
The CIC pointed out that the action (refusing information under other law for an RTI application) of the PIO is without any basis in the law. “Nearly four and half years after the RTI Act, 2005, had been implemented a PIO must realize that refusal to give information can only be based on the exemptions of Section 8(1) of the RTI Act,” the Commission noted.
While allowing the appeal by Ms Mander, the CIC asked the PIO to provide a copy of the Kapur-Mittal Committee report and also directed the Home Secretary to provide an affidavit as regards with Marwah Commission, Dhillon Commission and Narula Committee reports certifying that these reports are not with the Delhi government.
The Information Commission, while issuing a show-cause notice also asked the PIO and joint secretary to present himself before the Commission along with written submissions showing why penalty should not be imposed on him under Section 20(1) of the RTI Act. The Commission also asked the PIO to inform about the show cause notice and bring for hearing before it, any persons who may be responsible for the delay in providing the information to Ms Mander.
CENTRAL INFORMATION COMMISSION
Decision No. CIC/SG/A/2010/002098/9399
Appeal No. CIC/SG/A/2010/002098
Appellant : Ms Suroor Mander B-68, Second Floor,
Sarvodaya Enclave, New Delhi-110017
Respondent : Mr MA Ashref PIO & Joint Secretary (Home-II)
Govt. of NCT of Delhi Home (Police-II) Deptt,
5th Level 'C' Wing, Delhi Secretariat,