EBM News
EBM News

DoT’s January 23 order issued without Telecom Minister, secretary consent: Sources

NEW DELHI: The order of the Department of Telecommunications that had asked for no coercive action against telecom companies defaulting on statutory dues payment was issued without the consent of Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and DoT secretary, sources said.

The government has taken a serious view of the matter and a stringent action is being considered against those found guilty, the sources said.

A senior government official privy to the development said the January 23 order was issued by the DoT without the consent of the telecom minister or DoT secretary.

Earlier on Friday, the telecom department withdrew its order that asked for no coercive action against telecom companies defaulting on statutory dues payment after the Supreme Court took a strong view of non-compliance with its order.

On Friday, the DoT also directed field offices to take “immediate necessary action” in compliance with the October judgment of the Supreme Court.

The direction by the DoT says its previous order dated January 23, 2020 “stands withdrawn with immediate effect”.

“It is directed to take immediate necessary action in compliance with the judgement dated October 24, 2019 of the Supreme Court,” said the fresh order issued by the DoT soon after the apex court made its observations on Friday.

The department’s urgent move came after the Supreme Court on Friday directed the managing directors and directors of telcos and other firms to explain why contempt action be not taken against them for non-compliance of its order to pay adjusted gross revenue (AGR) of Rs 1.47 lakh crore to the DoT.

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 the DoT’s desk officer, staying the effect of its verdict in AGR matter.