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SC grants 10-year time to telecos to clear AGR dues

The Supreme Court on Tuesday granted 10-year time to telecos like Vodafone Idea, Bharti Airtel and Tata Teleservices for paying Adjusted Gross Revenue-related dues.

It said telecos should pay 10 percent of AGR-related dues by March 31, 2021. The top court had on October 24, 2019, ruled that the statutory dues needed to be calculated by including non-telecom revenues in what is known as AGR of telcos. Later, it had rejected their review petitions, saying there was no “justifiable reason” to entertain their pleas.

Telcos wanted to make a staggered payment, contending that they faced financial constraints. The DoT had supported their plea and urged the court to allow staggered payment AGR dues by telcos in the next 20 years.

The Bench, which also included Justice BR Gavai and Justice Krishna Murari, had reserved the verdict on July 20 on the aspect of granting timeline to telcos for staggered payment of AGR- related dues.

However, the Bench had made it clear that it will not hear “even for a second” any arguments on reassessment or re-calculation of AGR.

During the hearing, it had asked telcos to furnish books of accounts for the last ten year. It had said 15-20 years sought by some telecos was not reasonable.

Last month, the DoT had said all liabilities, including AGR-related dues, should be cleared by telecos before spectrum trading.

The DoT had said it can seek to recover dues from sellers and buyers of the spectrum, jointly or individually.

The DoT had said that no demand has been raised against Reliance Jio and Airtel for part dues of Reliance Communications (RCom) and Videocon respectively.