Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea (Vi) were asked to pay Rs 40,000 crore as the one-time spectrum charge (OTSC) by the Department of Telecommunications. Because of the disputes between the telcos and the government, the case had reached the Supreme Court (SC). However, the government then showed the motive of settling the issue out of the court. To that extent, the SC asked the DoT to come up with fair reasons for withdrawing the case. The hearing is all for November 17, 2021.
But, there are internal issues in the telecom department over the issue. According to an ET Telecom report, there are some DoT officials who believe that if the case had gone to the court after taking the legal opinion from the Attorney General (AG), is it right to settle it out of court now?
Indian Government Wants to Reduce Telecom Sector’s Burden of Litigation
The Indian government is sure of what it wants to do now, and that is to help the telecom sector. One of the many ways sought by the GoI (Government of India) was to reduce the litigation in the sector. At almost every turn, there are disputes between the GoI and the telcos, which then end up going to court. This only helps the pockets of the lawyers and doesn’t do good for the sector in any manner.
Thus, following the same intent, the DoT had taken the legal opinion on the matter in October, which said that it could settle cases such as OTSC out of the court. But it won’t be as simple as this. The amounts will be affected if the case is taken out of the court, and it will become necessary for the DoT to assess what bearing out-of-court settlements will have on the final amount as some telcos have already paid some OTSC in the past.