The Madras High Court (Madurai Bench) on Friday deferred hearing and delivery of verdict on a public interest litigation challenging the BSNL’s decisions to discontinue telegram services from July 15, since orders on a similar petition heard by the High Court’s Principal Bench in Chennai was reserved.
The division bench in Madurai comprising Justices N Paul Vasantha Kumar and P Devadass will therefore hear the case subject to the verdict to be pronounced by the Principal Bench.
On Thursday two petitions were filed in the Madurai Bench seeking a direction to the Union Telecom Ministry and BSNL not to suspend telegram services beyond July 15.
In the Principal Bench, one C Selvaraj had sought direction to restrain the BSNL from discontinuing telegram services.
Responding to this, the BSNL Deputy General Manager E Vasudevan in his counter affidavit had submitted due to advent of advanced and modern technologies fewer people opted to send telegrams.
A perusal of the Telegraph Traffic revealed that the daily telegram booking has declined from 21,785 telegrams booked per day in the year 2006-07 to a mere 6,038 telegrams per day in 2011-12. This amounted to a decline of 72.3% in Telegram Traffic.
He further submitted that the BSNL had suffered a huge loss to the tune of `65.42 crore during the first half of the financial year and losses incurred by the BSNL on account of operating the telegram service from 2006-07 to till date are `1,473.38 crore. Also 90% of the employees of telegram services were redeployed to the other services of BSNL.
Hence, the BSNL had taken a policy decision to discontinue the service.