SC to hear telcos’ plea seeking new schedule of AGR payments today

Elvera Bartels

The Supreme Court will on Friday hear new pleas of telecom companies, which includes Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Tata Teleservices, seeking a new plan of payment of statutory dues to the tune of Rs one.forty seven trillion to the Division of Telecommunications.

A bench of justices Arun Mishra, S Abdul Nazeer and M R Shah will hear a batch of petitions submitted by telecom corporations in open up court docket.

The pleas submitted by Vodafone Idea, Bharti Airtel, and Tata Teleservices has sought more time for payment of modified gross revenue (AGR) linked dues.

The telecom corporations want to negotiate a new payment plan with the Division of Telecommunications (DoT), which has issued need notices to them.

Earlier on January sixteen, a bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra experienced dismissed assessment petitions of telecom companies seeking assessment of its before purchase asking them to pay Rs one.forty seven trillion in statutory dues by January 23, saying it did not uncover any “justifiable motive” to entertain them.

The apex court docket experienced on Oct 24 previous 12 months ruled that the statutory dues need to have to be calculated by which includes non-telecom revenues in AGR of telcos.

It experienced upheld the AGR definition formulated by the DoT and termed as “frivolous” the nature of objections lifted by the telecom assistance vendors.

In an affidavit submitted in the top rated court docket, DoT explained that in accordance to calculations, Airtel owes Rs 21,682.13 crore as licence fee to the governing administration and dues from Vodafone totalled Rs 19,823.71 crore, while Reliance Communications owed a total of Rs sixteen,456.forty seven crore. BSNL owed Rs two,098.seventy two crore and MTNL Rs two,537.48 crore.

“The definition of gross revenue is crystal crystal clear in the agreement. How the modified gross revenue to be arrived at is also apparent. It are not able to be submitted that the revenue has not been described in the contract. At the time the gross revenue is described, just one are not able to depart from it and the really indicating is to be provided to the revenue for the agreement,” the apex court docket experienced explained in its Oct verdict.

In accordance to the New Telecom Plan 1999, telecom licensees are essential to share a share of their AGR with the governing administration as yearly licence fee (LF).

The 1999 plan arrived right after operators created representation to Centre for reduction in opposition to steep licence fee which they experienced continuously defaulted since 1994 and an option to licensees to migrate from fixed licence fee to revenue sharing fee was created applicable in the 12 months 1999.

In addition, mobile phone operators were being also essential to pay spectrum usage expenses (SUC) for use of radio frequency spectrum allotted to them.

Telecos experienced moved the top rated court docket in opposition to the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal’s (TDSAT) purchase which ruled that certain non-telecom revenues like hire, revenue on sale of fixed belongings, dividend and treasury money would not be counted as AGR on which licence fee would have to be paid out to governing administration.

The TDSAT experienced exempted a significant number of streams from the definition of AGR, like cash receipts, lousy personal debt, distribution margins to sellers, foreign exchange fluctuations, sale of scrap and waiver of late fee.

It experienced also explained revenue from non-main sources this sort of as hire, revenue on sale of fixed belongings, dividend, curiosity and miscellaneous money must be provided while computing a carrier’s AGR, working a setback to telecos who would have to shell out more to licence and spectrum usage expenses.

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