Tuesday, The Supreme Court allowed telecom companies to clear their adjusted gross revenue or (AGR) dues, grossing about ₹ 1.6 lakh crore, in a staggered manner spread over 10 years. A three-judge bench of the court, led by Justice Arun Mishra, directed the telecom companies to pay 10 per cent of the dues by March 31, 2021.The Supreme Court rejected a 20-year payment timeline proposed by the central government and supported by telecom companies, which are reeling under piles of debt amid intense competition.
The court also decided that -The telecom companies will have to clear their dues by February 7 each year and non-payment of dues will incur penalty, interest, and contempt of court, the bench added. During the time, Tata Telecom had asked for a window of at least 7-10 years for payment of dues, whereas Vodafone-Idea and Bharti Airtel had each suggested payment over 15 years. The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) had, however, stuck to the Cabinet’s proposal of payment within 20 years.
The Supreme Court asked the managing directors or chief executive officers of the concerned telecom companies to give personal guarantees on the payments within four weeks.
The Court also said the issue of sale of spectrum by telecom companies facing insolvency proceedings will be decided by the National Company Law Tribunal.