Home / Industry / Telecom /  Plea moved in SC seeking immediate action to ensure recovery of AGR dues

New Delhi: A public interest litigation (PIL) has been moved in the Supreme Court, seeking the quashing of a recent direction of the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) on dues related to adjusted gross revenue (AGR).

The DoT on Thursday said it will not take coercive action against telecom companies that failed to meet the court-directed 23 January deadline to pay dues, after Vodafone Idea Limited and Bharti Airtel Limited sought more time.

The plea, filed by Consumer Rights Foundation, said the DoT’s order amounts to contempt of court.

It has asked for directions to DoT to take immediate steps/action to ensure immediate recovery of the dues from the said companies in terms of the Supreme Court order dated 24 October, adding that the government was duty bound to abide by the order passed by the apex court.

The 24 October order that ended a 14-year legal battle between telcos and the department of telecommunications (DoT) asked India’s top wireless carriers to cough up more than 1 trillion in dues, straining their already precarious financial situation.

“For that an amount of more than 1,47,000 crores is not a small sum whose recovery can be postponed or delayed despite specific directions of this Hon’ble Court at peril of detriment of the citizens of this country from whom these TSPs (telecom service providers) have already collected huge amounts and earned revenue," the plea said.

“For that it is humbly submitted that these dues which have been adjudicated in favour of the Government by this Hon’ble Court are not simpliciter private contractual dues of the Central Government but, in essence, public money and thereby involves substantial public interest. The TSPs (telecom service providers) after having collected huge amounts from the consumers cannot be allowed to wriggle of its obligation to pay the dues as per the Licence Agreements and definition of AGR as held by this Hon’ble Court," it added.

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