The Supreme Court bench on Monday reserved its order on a petition related to allowing telcos to make staggered payments of adjusted gross revenue (AGR) over a 20-year period. The three-judge bench of Justices Arun Mishra, S Abdul Nazeer and MR Shah was hearing the government's petition on allowing telecom service providers such as Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and others to make for the AGR payout over a 20-year period. The next hearing in the matter related to the timeline has been scheduled for August 10.
The Supreme Court said there is "no going back" on the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) demand on the AGR issues and it will only consider the timeline.
On October 24, the apex court had upheld the government's broader definition of AGR. The court had also 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".
Earlier during the hearing, 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. Bharti Airtel requested for a 15-year window to clear the dues.
"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.
While Vodafone Idea has made a total payment of Rs 7,854 crore, Bharti Airtel has paid Rs 18,004 crore so far.