SC takes note of submissions of telcos on hearing of curative pleas on AGR computation

The Supreme Court on Monday took note of the submissions of some telecommunication companies including Vodafone Idea that their curative petition against the dismissal of earlier pleas seeking correction of alleged errors in Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) related dues be listed for hearing.

A bench comprising Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and justices J B Pardiwala and Manoj Misra considered the submissions by senior lawyers Harish Salve and KK Venugopal, who represented some of the firms.

The lawyers referred to alleged errors in “arithmetic calculation” for arriving at the AGR-related dues by the DoT (Department of Telecom).

The CJI asked the lawyers as to how much time they would take to argue the case. On being told that it would take a day, the bench ordered that the matter be circulated.

The Supreme Court had in July 2021 dismissed a plea seeking correction of errors in demand of AGR dues. The telecom companies had moved the top court claiming there were a number of errors in arriving at the AGR dues which totalled over Rs 1 lakh crore.

Vodafone-Idea’s total liability was Rs 58,254 crore and Bharti Airtel’s Rs 43,980 crore. Earlier, the top court had given the telecom companies 10 years to clear their outstanding dues to the government.

The top court had held that the demand raised by the Department of Telecom (DoT) in respect of AGR dues will be final. It had also said telecom companies shall not raise any dispute and there shall not be any re-assessment.

It had said telecom operators shall make the payment of 10 per cent of the total dues as demanded by DoT by March 31, 2021 and rest in yearly instalments commencing from April 1, 2021 to March 31, 2031.

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