New Delhi: The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) is considering legal options to counter a defamation suit filed by member company Reliance Jio against it and its Director General, the telecom operator’s body said on Sunday.
In an interim order passed last week, the Delhi High Court accepted the defamation suit against the Association and asked COAI and its Director General Rajan Mathews to refrain from using “disparaging and defamatory” words or phrases against the Mukesh Ambani-led Jio.
“COAI expresses deep concerns over the allegations levied by Reliance Jio Infocomm, where it has accused the industry body of using disparaging remarks. COAI maintains that the allegations are patently misconceived as all communications were issued in good faith and in furtherance of its duty as an industry association,” a COAI release said here.
“It is disappointing that one of our members has chosen to take legal action against the association. We believe the allegations are without merit and we intend to defend ourselves vigorously. COAI is well within its rights to hold and voice its views on regulatory and policy issues. The matter is currently sub judice and we are in the process of considering and evaluating our legal options,” Director General Rajan Mathews said.
Jio has alleged that the COAI had tried to block its entry into the telecom market and later stifle the company’s growth while advancing the interests of other members.
According to COAI, some of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) decisions, including local interconnection rate cuts, were detrimental to the industry and favoured Jio.
“A clear, stable and predictable policy environment is the foremost requirement of any regulatory regime that fosters industry growth and customer services,” the COAI statement said.
“We hope that the legal authorities will take a more balanced view on this issue which may be impacting the relationship of the member and the association and also the entire industry,” it added.