SC quashes telcos’ plea on AGR dues
The Supreme Courtroom on Friday refused to evaluation the quantity payable by three telcos to the federal government in the direction of adjusted gross income (AGR) associated dues, dealing a blow to telecom companies Vodafone Thought Ltd and Bharti Airtel Ltd.
The bench, headed by Justice L. Nageswara Rao, rejected the functions moved by Vodafone Thought, Bharti Airtel and Tata Teleservices that identified alleged errors in calculating AGR dues and sought a recomputation of the dues.
“We’ve handled all three functions by a typical order. All miscellaneous functions are rejected,” stated the bench, which additionally included justices S.A. Nazeer and M.R. Shah whereas saying the operative a part of the order. The court docket lent credence to its September 2020 judgement, which had categorically acknowledged that the dues payable by telcos is not going to be open to any reassessment.
“That, for the demand raised by the division of telecommunications in respect of the AGR dues primarily based on the judgement of this court docket, there shall not be any dispute raised by any of the telecom operators and that there shall not be any reassessment,” the September 2020 judgement famous.
Citing this a part of the earlier judgement, the bench on Friday refused to reopen the problem and opined that entertaining the telecom majors’ plea would quantity to not directly reviewing the September 2020 order.
With the dismissal of the functions, the court docket has but once more put a stamp on DoT’s calculation, in line with which telecom service suppliers should pay ₹93,520 crore of AGR associated dues over a interval of 10 years to clear their excellent quantity to the federal government. In line with a notice submitted by DoT within the Supreme Courtroom final 12 months, Vodafone Thought owed ₹58,254 crore, out of which it has paid round ₹7,850 crore. Bharti Airtel had whole dues of ₹43,980 crore, and the group had cleared a little bit over ₹18,000 crore. Out of the full excellent of ₹16,798 crore, Tata Telecom has paid ₹4,197 crore until date.
In a earlier listening to on 19 July, the telecom corporations had claimed arithmetical errors in addition to instances of duplication of entries, as they sought to influence the bench that they weren’t asking for reassessment however have been solely on the lookout for rectification of calculation errors. The court docket was requested to permit them to strategy DoT, which might look into their grievances and inform the court docket, accordingly.
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With a debt of ₹1.8 trillion and money steadiness of ₹350 crore, Vodafone Thought, by senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, linked the agency’s viability to a discount of its AGR dues, asking for a permission to position the calculations earlier than DoT.
Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, for Airtel, and senior counsel Arvind Datar, for Tata, too, submitted that they weren’t looking for a recomputation of their dues, however solely a chance with DoT to rectify sure errors in calculation.
When requested about DoT’s stand on the problem, solicitor normal Tushar Mehta stated he didn’t have any instruction from the division and that he required a day or two to revert.
The bench had then reserved its order on the functions. In its September order, the apex court docket had stated that telecom operators shall make the fee of 10% of the full dues as demanded by DoT by 31 March 2021 and the remainder needs to be paid in yearly instalments commencing from 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2031.