Top Court Gives Telecom Firms 10 Years To Pay Dues, Contempt If Default

Top Court Gives Telecom Firms 10 Years To Pay Dues, Contempt If Default

The Supreme Court has allowed the telecom companies to pay their adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues dues in a staggered manner spread over 10 years. The Supreme Court bench led by Justice Arun Mishra delivered the judgement on the repayment of AGR dues by the telecom companies. The top court  also directed the telecom companies to pay 10 per cent of the dues by March 31, 2021. 

The court said that telecom companies will have to clear their dues by February 7 each year and non-payment of dues will invite contempt of court.

The Bench of Justices Arun Mishra, S Abdul Nazeer and MR Shah said the 10-year timeline for payment of AGR dues will begin from April 1, 2021, and the payments can be made in installments till March 31, 2031. 

The Supreme Court has dropped contempt cases against the telecom companies and directed the managing directors of the telcos to give personal guarantees within four comply with the court's directions.

During the hearings, the court was told by Tata Telecom that a window of at least 7-10 years would be required for payment of dues, while Vodafone-Idea and Bharti Airtel had suggested payment over the course of 15 years. The Department of Telecommunications (DoT), however, stuck to the Union Cabinet's proposal of payment within 20 years.

On July 20, the three-judge bench had reserved its order on the timeline for staggered payment of dues and took up the issue of spectrum licences held by the companies.

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The Supreme Court also said that the issue of sale of spectrum by telecos facing insolvency proceedings shall be decided by National Company Law Tribunal.

Telecom stocks trade mixed after AGR verdict. Bharti Airtel, RCom saw a mild rally, while Vodafone Idea plunged 15 per cent on the BSE.