New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Hours after the Supreme Court rap, the government has ordered firms such as Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea to clear dues before Friday midnight. 

According to government order, the DoT, which faced the ire of the Supreme Court for putting on hold recovery of dues from telecom companies, started issuing circle or zone-wise demand notices to firms.

This came hours after the Supreme Court summoned telecom companies over the dues remaining unpaid despite its orders. The apex court directed the MDs, directors of telcos and other firms to explain why contempt action be not taken against them for non-compliance of order.

"We don't know who is creating this nonsense. Is there no law left in country... It is better not to live in this country and rather leave the country," said a SC bench that included Justice Arun Mishra, Justice S Abdul Nazeer and Justice MR Shah.

Soon the after this, the telecom department withdrew its order that asked for no coercive action against telecom companies defaulting on statutory dues payment.

"It is directed to take immediate necessary action in compliance with the judgement dated October 24, 2019 of the Supreme Court," said the fresh order issued by the DoT soon after the apex court made its observations on Friday.

On October 24 last year, the Supreme Court had ruled that the statutory dues need to be calculated by including non-telecom revenues in AGR of telcos.

It had upheld the AGR definition formulated by the DoT and termed as "frivolous" the nature of objections raised by the telecom service providers.

In an affidavit filed in the top court, DoT said that according to calculations, Airtel owes Rs 21,682.13 crore as licence fee to the government and dues from Vodafone totalled Rs 19,823.71 crore, while Reliance Communications owed a total of Rs 16,456.47 crore. BSNL owed Rs 2,098.72 crore and MTNL Rs 2,537.48 crore.

"The definition of gross revenue is crystal clear in the agreement. How the adjusted gross revenue to be arrived at is also evident. It cannot be submitted that the revenue has not been defined in the contract. Once the gross revenue is defined, one cannot depart from it and the very meaning is to be given to the revenue for the agreement," the apex court had said in its October verdict.

(With PTI inputs)

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma