The Supreme Court today once again reserved its order on the much-talked-of AGR (Adjusted Gross Revenue) case. The timeline for the payment of AGR dues is still debatable.
The Sum and Substance of Today’s Hearing
- A three-judge bench of Justices Arun Mishra, S Abdul Nazeer and MR Shah heard the case. The court reserved their order to decide the timeline withing which the telecom operators were to pay their dues.
- The SC stated that the calculation of AGR dues by the Department Of Telecommunications should be treated as final as that there is no room for self-assessment or renegotiation by any of the respondents.
- Vodafone-Idea represented by counsel Mukul Rohatgi expressed poor liquidity, disposable assets and lack of sufficient funds on part of Vodafone-Idea to be able to pay the dues. Moreover, he requested for a period of 20 years and at best 15 years for Vodafone-Idea to pay its AGR dues.
- Bharti Airtel represented by counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi stated that the Government had wrongly charged Bharti Airtel for Spectrum Usage Charges (SUC) which should not be a part of AGR dues. He requested for a period of 10 or 20 Years since upfront payments could affect the 11,000 employees of the company and services provided by the company itself.
- Senior Advocate Mohan Parasaran on behalf TATA Telecommunications stated that the company submits to SC that a 7-10 year period would be reasonable for repaying AGR dues.
As per DoT estimates, telecom companies owe a total of Rs 1.19 lakh crore with payments received so far at Rs 26,896 crore. The balance amount to be paid is currently at Rs 92,520 crore.