Business Economy

Supreme Court to deliver judgement on telcos plea on AGR calculation

The Supreme Court will on Thursday pronounce its interim judgement on the petitions of telecom companies like Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea seeking direction for correction of errors in Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) calculation.

The court had reserved its order on the issue in the July hearing. The judgement will be pronounced by a bench headed by Justice L Nageswara Rao.

The court has already heard submissions of the telecom companies and asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to file a detailed response on behalf of the Department of Telecom (DoT) on the application filed by Vodafone Idea and Airtel.

The court had in September last year granted telecom companies a period of 10 years to clear their pending AGR dues to the central government with 10% payment every year. The deadline given to the company for the first instalment was March 31, 2021.

But the matter came back to the court after the telcos did not submit the amount disputing the calculation done by the DoT and claiming that they have already submitted more than 10% of the amount.

Vodafone India’s lawyer Mukul Rohatgi said that the company has complied with the undertaking to pay and deposited ₹7,854 crores. The companies together claimed that they have deposited ₹18,400 crores.

The companies have also accused the DoT of making arithmetical errors in calculations regarding the AGR dues and want the court to direct the telecom department to consider their submissions.

Major telcos, including Vodafone-Idea and Bharti Airtel, owe substantial amounts to the Department of Telecom (DoT).

The total liability on Vodafone-Idea is ₹58,254 crore, while Bharti Airtel has to pay ₹43,980 crores.

The apex court in its judgment delivered on October 24, 2019, had upheld the interpretation given to the definition of AGR by the DoT and included revenues from various heads for calculation of the dues while imposing a cumulative burden of over 1.69 lakh crore on 16 telcos.

The court now has to decide on the amount to be paid by the companies and issues raised by them.

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