Supreme Court softens stance, gives telecom companies 10 years to clear AGR dues
New Delhi | Jagran Business Desk: The Supreme Court on Tuesday awarded telecom companies 10-years time to clear their AGR dues with 10 per cent to be paid by March 31, 2021. During the hearing, the VodafoneIdea and Bharati Airtel had asked the court to give 15 years' time, while Tata Telecom said that it will take 7-10 years to clear its dues. The Department of Telecommunications (DoT), however, remained firm on a 20-year proposal by the Union Cabinet to clear AGR dues.
After hearing all the concerned parties, the three-judge bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra pronounced its verdict and laid down the timeframe for the telcos to clear the dues. He ordered them to clear 10 per cent of their total dues by March-end next year, while the remaining amount will be paid in installments till March 31, 2031. The top court had on July 20 reserved its verdict on the timeline of payment.
According to the court order, the telecom companies will have to clear their dues by February 7 each year and that non-payment of dues will result in contempt of court. Also, penalty and interest will be charged in case the payment is not made on time.
The court also asked the managing directors and CEOs of the telecom companies to give a personal guarantee within four weeks to ensure timely payment of AGR dues.
The apex court said that the issue of sale of the spectrum by telecom companies facing insolvency proceedings will be decided by the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT). The bench delivered its verdict on the issues, including the timeline for staggered payment of AGR-related dues amounting to about Rs 1.6 lakh crore.
Posted By: Shashikant Sharma