The Supreme Court (SC) has termed the pleas filed by Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Tata Teleservices, seeking recalculation of the adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues, as "misconceived". The top court added that the relief sought by the telcos would alter the quantum of dues confirmed by it in its July 2020 order.
A three-judge SC bench headed by Justice L N Rao had on Friday quashed the telcos' petitions seeking rectification of mathematical errors in calculating their AGR dues.
It also noted that "senior counsel were in unison in submitting that the applicants are not seeking any positive direction, except to permit the Union of India to verify their accounts and rectify the defects in computation of AGR dues, if any."
"Though these applications appear to be innocuous at first blush, the end result of the relief sought by the applicants in the guise of correction or rectification of the defects or arithmetical errors in calculation of AGR dues, as specified in the order of this Court 20.07.2020, being altered", said the bench in its order, dated July 23.
"The dispute relating to AGR dues had remained pending in courts for a very long period of time and bearing this in mind, this Court was at pains to empathise, at the cost of repetition, that the AGR dues payable by TSPs (telecom service providers) cannot be subject matter to any future litigation," the verdict further read.
To recap, Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Tata Teleservices had filed individual applications before the Supreme Court in January seeking clarification, modification or recall of its previous AGR judgment. The telcos say that there are clerical or arithmetic errors in DoT's calculations of AGR, and the actual amount due is much lesser. As per DoT's calculations, the three telcos are supposed to pay Rs 1,02,234 crore.
Airtel has already paid Rs 18,004 crore (out of Rs 43,980 crore demanded) while Vodafone Idea has paid Rs 7,854 crore (out of Rs 58,254 crore). Airtel has self-assessed its dues at Rs 18,004 crore, just 41 per cent of DoT estimates whereas Vodafone Idea self-assessed its dues at Rs 25,000 crore, about 43 per cent of DoT's demand.
Edited by Mehak Agarwal
Copyright©2021 Living Media India Limited. For reprint rights: Syndications Today