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Cellular firm fined for blocking SIM

Cellular firm fined for blocking SIM

LAHORE: A civil court has directed a cellular company to pay Rs1 million as damages to a consumer for blocking his SIM (subscriber identity module) without any prior intimation.

Advocate Syed Faridul Haq Chishti, a former finance secretary of Lahore Bar Association, had filed a suit for damages against U-fone for causing him a huge financial loss and mental agony by blocking his SIM abruptly in 2014 when he was in Dubai.

Lawyer’s counsel Shoaib Saleem argued that the cellular company never issued any warning to the plaintiff or prior notice before blocking the SIM card. He said the entire public dealing of the plaintiff remained suspended for five days which also caused him a financial loss to the tune of Rs10m as he could not contact his clients.

The company had told the court that the SIM of the plaintiff was blocked due to bulk messaging being prohibited under the regulations of Pakistan Telecom Authority. It said the plaintiff sent 4,406 and 4,578 text messages on May 30, 2014, and on June 27, 2014 ,respectively, which were prohibited by standard operating procedures to control spamming.

The plaintiff claimed damages to the tune of Rs13.5m, however, the court observed the available record did not prove the alleged loss.

Judge Ijaz Ahmad Imtiaz ruled that the cellular connection of the plaintiff was blocked by the company without lawful justification. He observed the company was entitled to suspend outgoing facility [alone] of the plaintiff for being involved in spamming (sending 3,000 SMSs or more in a day).

Therefore, the plaintiff-lawyer is entitled to recover a sum of Rs1m from the company as damages, the verdict said. The judge directed the company to pay damages to the plaintiff.

Published in Dawn, November 3rd, 2017

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