New Delhi. The Supreme Court has reprimanded the government and companies for delay in payment of arrears. During the hearing in the AGR case, the court expressed resentment whether the government officials are above the Supreme Court.
MDs of telecom companies have been summoned to the court on 17 March by issuing notice of contempt of Supreme Court. MDs have been asked to appear in court and explain why their companies have not deposited the AGR dues so far. Airtel, Voda Idea and Tata Teleservices etc. owes Rs 1.47 lakh crore.
While the Court also raised questions on relief from the Department of Telecom. Justice Mishra said, how the DoT issued a notification that no strict action will be taken against the companies for not paying now. The Supreme Court said that despite our order this amount was not deposited, we are shocked that not a single penny has been deposited. Nonsense, we have said what we had to say. Justice Mishra said that these petitions should not have been filed, this is all nonsense, is the government desk officer better than the Supreme Court which put a stay on our order. Earlier, the court had issued an order to deposit the arrears by January 23.
The Supreme Court in October 2019 upheld the charges demanded by the government on the average gross revenue (AGR) received from the telecom companies. Vodafone Idea Ltd. (VIL) owes Rs 53,038 crore. This includes spectrum dues of Rs 24,729 crore and license fee of Rs 28,309 crore. At the same time, Rs 35586 crore on Airtel.
What is AGR?
AGR means Adjusted gross revenue. Telecom companies have to pay a part of the revenue to the government in the form of spectrum fees, such as spectrum usage charge (SUC) and license fee. Telecom companies have a license agreement with the Department of Telecommunications (DoT). The agreement itself contains the conditions associated with AGR.