SC Comes Down Heavily On TELCOs For Not Paying AGR Dues, Asks Withdrawal Of Centre‘s Order Not To Take Coercive Action


The Supreme Court on Friday (14 February) came down heavily on the telecom companies for not paying dues to the tune of Rs 1.47 lakh crore to the government and summoned their top executives to court to explain, why the top court order on clearing dues was not followed.

A bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra also warned the telecom companies that the court may initiate contempt proceedings against them and government officials for not complying with its order.

The top court has ordered the managing directors of Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, MTNL, BSNL, Reliance Communications, Tata Telecommunication and others to be present in the court on 17 March.

The top court also directed the Centre to immediately withdraw order passed by its desk officer to not take coercive action against the telecom companies.

Justice Mishra also added that the telecom companies haven’t even paid a single penny and the government officer wants stay on the order.

The top court warned that this officer was liable to jail term if that order was not withdrawn within an hour.

A bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra had ordered telecom companies to pay adjusted gross revenue (AGR) to the government.

On 16 January, Justice Mishra-led bench had dismissed review petitions of telcos seeking review of its earlier order asking them to pay Rs 1.47 lakh crore in statutory dues by 23 January, saying it did not find any “justifiable reason” to entertain them.

The top court had on 24 October last year ruled that the statutory dues needed to be calculated by including non-telecom revenues in AGR of telcos.