Telecom Operators Cannot Self-Asses Their AGR Dues: Supreme Court

The Supreme Court bench slammed the DoT officials and telco giants stating that self-assessment of AGR dues is a contempt of court

Highlights
  • Supreme Court has marked that self-assessment of AGR dues is contempt of court
  • Bharti Airtel self-assessed amount stands less than Rs 18,004 crore
  • Vodafone Idea has cleared their self-assessed principal amount of Rs 7,000 crore

The Supreme Court addressed the AGR issues and slammed the telcos along with DoT. As per the Supreme Bench, telcos should not have been permitted the self-assessment of their AGR dues. However, the supreme court has considered the government’s plea to allow a deferred payment mechanism to the stressed telcos. Earlier, the Supreme Court backed the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and stated that AGR dues must include non-core items. The Supreme Court also said that they would not spare the telecom operators and DoT officials involved in the self-assessment of AGR dues.

Self-Assessment of AGR dues is Contempt of Court

Justice Arun Mishra noted that self-assessment of AGR dues is contempt of court and the bench is ready to call managing directors of the companies and send them to jail. Not only this, but the court also ordered that telcos have to pay the entire amount of interest and penalty as per their judgement. However, the Supreme Court bench will consider the deferred payment mechanism, as suggested by the government.

Justice Arun Mishra addressed the solicitor general Tushar Mehta and noted that media platforms and government officials have been trying to influence the decision of the court and misled the entire nation regarding the self-assessment of AGR dues. However, the self-assessment of AGR dues is a sheer violation of the bench orders.

Telcos Self-Assessed Dues are Lower Than DoT

Though the Supreme Court declared the self-assessment of AGR dues as a violation of bench orders. The telco giants earlier calculated their AGR dues and started clearing them off as per their calculations. As per Vodafone Idea, the AGR dues stand at Rs 21,000 crore out of which Rs 7,000 crore is the principal amount which the telco has already cleared a few days back.

However, DoT estimated that Vodafone Idea has to pay Rs 53,000 crore towards AGR dues. Similarly, Bharti Airtel has marked that its self-assessed dues will not cross Rs 18,004 crore, but as per DoT, the telco giant has to pay a whopping amount of Rs 35,000 crore towards AGR dues. Abhishek Manu Sanghvi, who is the senior advocate, stated that Bharti Airtel has already paid Rs 13,000 crore along with an ad-hoc payment of Rs 5,000 crore and will not bypass the decision of the Supreme Court.

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