The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India Union of India V. Association of United Telecom Service Providers of India (R), allowed the telecom companies to pay AGR dues within a period of 10 years and laid down a timeframe within which the companies have to pay the AGR dues.
The Three-Judge bench comprising of Hon’ble Justices Arun Mishra, S Abdul Nazeer and MR Shah issued directions in this regard,
“Resultantly, we issue following directions:
- That for the demand raised by the Department of Telecom in respect of the AGR dues based on the judgment of this Court, there shall not be any dispute raised by any of the Telecom Operators and that there shall not be any reassessment.
- That, at the first instance, the respective Telecom Operators shall make the payment of 10% of the total dues as demanded by DoT by 31.3.2021.
- TSPs. have to make payment in yearly instalments commencing from 1.4.2021 up to 31.3.2031 payable by 31st March of every succeeding financial year.
- Various companies through Managing Director/Chairman or other authorised officer, to furnish an undertaking within four weeks, to make payment of arrears as per the order.
- The existing bank guarantees that have been submitted regarding the spectrum shall be kept alive by TSPs. until the payment is made.
- In the event of any default in making payment of annual instalments, interest would become payable as per the agreement along with penalty and interest on penalty automatically without reference to Court. Besides, it would be punishable for contempt of Court.
- Let compliance of order be reported by all TSPs. and DoT every year by 7th April of each succeeding year.”
The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India while examining whether spectrum can be sold or not observed that “We consider it appropriate that the aforesaid various questions should first be considered by the NCLT. Let the NCLT consider the aforesaid aspects and pass a reasoned order after hearing all the parties. We make it clear that it being a jurisdictional question, it requires to be gone into at this stage itself. Let the question be decided within the outer limits of two months.”