The Supreme Court (SC) will, on Tuesday. give its verdict on the key issue of payment of adjusted gross revenues (AGR) by telecom companies. Roster on the official website of the court shows that the Arun Mishra-led bench will pronounce the verdict at 11:30 am on 1 September, laying down the timeframe within which the telecom companies are required to clear their dues.
During the hearings, the court was told by Tata Telecom that a window of 7-10 years at least would be required for payment of dues, while Vodafone-Idea and Bharti Airtel suggested payment over the course of 15 years. The Department of Telecommunications (DoT), however, stuck to the Union Cabinet’s proposal of payment within 20 years.
On 20 July, the three-judge bench had reserved its order on the timeline of staggered payment of the dues and then took up the issue of spectrum licences held by the companies. The top court is also likely to decide on whether spectrum can be sold under insolvency proceedings – a matter crucial for companies like Anil Ambani’s Reliance Communications.
The court finished hearing the case on 24 August after the DoT file a detailed affidavit on the issue of the dues to be paid by companies using shared spectrum.
In a major setback to telecom companies, the SC had in October last year, rejected the appeal filed by the telecom companies against the Centre’s definition of AGR and upheld the Central government’s plea on the estimation of AGR dues at around Rs 92,000 crore.