SC reserves order on Telcos' plea for AGR recalculation

SC reserves order on Telecoms' plea for recalculation of AGR

The companies, for their part, contended that arithmetical errors can be rectified and there are cases of duplication of entries

The Supreme Court of India. Credit: PTI Photo

The Supreme Court on Monday reserved its order on a plea by Telecom majors Bharti Airtel, Vodafone-Idea and Tata Tele Services Ltd for recalculation of adjusted gross revenue (AGR) in view of their claim for error.

A bench presided over by Justice L Nageswara Rao, however, reminded the companies of its earlier judgement, stating reassessment and reevaluation can't be done.

The top court September last year had given the telecom service providers ten years' time to pay Rs 93,520 crores of AGR-related dues to clear their outstanding amount to the government.

The companies, for their part, contended that arithmetical errors can be rectified and there are cases of duplication of entries.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Vodafone Idea, said they were not blaming the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) for it as there are arithmetical entries. He said they want to place the entries before the department so that they can re-consider it.

The figures are “not cast in stone” and several tribunals don't have the power of review but they do have the power to correct arithmetical errors, he said.

"Allow me to place these entries before DoT and let them take a call on this,” he said, making it clear that they were not seeking any extension of time.

Senior advocate A M Singhvi, appearing for Airtel, said there are cases of duplication and also of payments made but not accounted for.

He said these issues should be considered by the DoT.

"I don't want to pay thousands of crores on account of these errors,” Singhvi said.

Senior advocate Arvind Datar, appearing for Tata Tele Services Ltd, said rectification of errors in calculation can be done.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who was appearing for the DoT, sought time for taking instructions. The bench said it would pass an order on the issue.

The top court said some other applications, including those raising the question of whether airwaves or spectrum can be transferred or sold by telecoms as part of their assets, would be heard after two weeks.

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