SC notice to Centre on Aircel plea over one-time spectrum charge

Aircel tells the Supreme Court that the Madras high court had erroneously upheld the payment of the one-time spectrum charge retrospectively


Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint
Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday issued a notice to the Union government over a plea by Aircel Cellular Ltd appealing against a Madras high court decision, which upheld payment of a one-time spectrum charge.

A bench comprising justices A.K. Sikri and D.Y. Chandrachud asked the Union government to respond by 19 October.

The court clarified that no action will be taken till that day.

Lawyer Harish Salve, representing Aircel, told the court that the high court had erroneously upheld the payment of the one-time spectrum charge retrospectively.

He added that the department had not yet raised a quantified demand yet.

Aircel also contended that the issue of spectrum usage were completely separate from the issue of licence fees.

On 30 August, Aircel Cellular moved the Supreme Court to appeal against the Madras high court decision.

The high court in August ruled that the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) could levy a one-time spectrum charge on Aircel Cellular, rejecting its claim that the department could only get a share of revenues generated from telecom-related activities.

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