Telecom service providers Bharti Airtel and Vodafone on Monday sought a window of 15 years from the Supreme Court to repay adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues. Vodafone revised the demand to 15 from 20 years after the Supreme Court said that telcos should seek a reasonable time for payout as 20 years is too long a period. "Revenue of the country needs to be saved. Telcos belong to this country, telcos should share the responsibility to secure the amount payable," the Supreme Court said.
On the other hand, Tata Tele submitted to the apex court that a 7 to 10 year period would be reasonable for repaying AGR dues. A three-judge bench of Justices Arun Mishra, S Abdul Nazeer and MR Shah are hearing the case.
Today's hearing was to decide if companies including Vodafone Idea and Airtel can pay the pending AGR dues in installments or not. The telcos had earlier appealed to the court to allow payment over a longer period of 10 or 20 years.
In the last hearing on the AGR matter, the Supreme Court had said that private telecom companies including Vodafone Idea must come out with a reasonable payment plan and make a minimum payment to "show their bonafide".
According to Department of Telecommunications (DoT) estimates, the companies owe Rs 1.19 lakh crore to it with payments received so far standing at Rs 26,896 crore. The balance is currently at Rs 92,520 crore.
Vodafone Idea last week said it has paid additional Rs 1,000 crore to the government towards the statutory dues, taking its total payment to an aggregate Rs 7,854 crore. The company's self-evaluation had earlier pegged its dues at Rs 21,533 crore. Simultaneously, Bharti Airtel has paid Rs 18,004 crore so far, while the DoT's demand of the telco stands at Rs 43,980. The company has self-assessed its dues at Rs 13,004 crore.