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AGR case: Cancel license, spectrum if telcos' dues are being wiped out, SC to govt

AGR case: The Supreme Court on Monday observed that the government should move to cancel license, spectrum if the dues pending against telcos are being wiped out

twitter-logoBusinessToday.In | August 24, 2020 | Updated 17:44 IST
AGR case: Cancel license, spectrum if telcos’ dues are being wiped out, SC to govt
AGR dues case hearing

The Supreme Court on Monday observed that the government should move to cancel license or spectrum if the adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues pending against telcos are being wiped out. The apex court said that it will ask for cancelation of spectrum allocation if the telecom operators are unwilling to pay the dues. "How else is DoT supposed to deal with such an issue?," SC added.

The apex court also said that selling of spectrum will allow the new party to take over the ownership for free of all encumbrances and liabilities. The spectrum, if canceled, will have to be surrendered to DoT and may be auctioned for higher realisation, the apex court said. "Wiping out of government's dues in this fashion is not permissible," SC said.

The apex court further said that it is verifying if the proceedings under IBC are subterfuge to escape paying AGR dues. "Can an asset (spectrum) that does not belong to telecom companies be sold under IBC?," it asked.  Meanwhile, the apex court reserved its judgement on the case related to recovery of AGR from insolvent telcos. The judgement will clarify if Jio and Airtel are liable to pay anything owing  to past dues of RCom.

During Friday's hearing, the SC had asked the DoT to file details of spectrum shared by insolvent companies. DoT was also asked by the apex court to give details regarding who all are using spectrum allocated since 1999, subject to sharing and trading agreements.

"DoT has not shared the details we asked of it. We wanted to ascertain the dues payable by Jio based on use of R.Comm spectrum," SC had observed.

"We had sought details, from 1999, of all spectrum allocated to R.Comm We also wanted details of who has been using spectrum, details of shared and traded spectrum, and if corresponding dues have been paid," the apex court added.

Also read: Supreme Court puts onus of AGR dues of ailing telcos on spectrum users

Also read:AGR case: Why shouldn't Jio pay RCom dues, SC asks

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