EBM News
EBM News

Do you want us to wind up SC?: Top court issues contempt notices against telcos over non-payment AGR dues

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday directed the managing directors and directors of telcos and other firms to explain why contempt action should not be taken against them for non-compliance of its order to pay adjusted gross revenue (AGR) of Rs 1.47 lakh crore to the Department of Telecommunications.

Taking strong note of the non-compliance of its order, a bench of Justice Arun Mishra, Justice S Abdul Nazeer and Justice M R Shah expressed anguish over the order passed by DoT’s desk officer staying the effect of its verdict in AGR matter.

“We don’t know who is creating this nonsense. Is there no law left in the country. It is better not to live in this country and rather leave the country,” the bench observed.

“Call the desk officer here! Do you want us to wind up the Supreme Court? We will draw up contempt of court against everyone!,” LiveLaw quoted Justice Mishra as saying.

The top court said a desk officer is writing a letter to the Attorney General and other constitutional authorities saying they should not insist on payment of money by telcos and others and to ensure that no coercive action is taken against them.

AGR is the basis on which levies like licence fees and spectrum usage charges are calculated.

On October 24 last year, the apex court had ended a 14-year legal battle between telecom companies and the DoT over what constituted AGR.

Vodafone Idea owes over Rs 50,000 crore to DoT, while Bharti Airtel has to pay Rs 35,586 crore. Tata Teleservices, which sold its mobile services business to Airtel, has dues of Rs 14,000 crore.