After SC rap, DoT withdraws order seeking no coercive action against defaulting telcos

The department's move came after the Supreme Court directed the managing directors and directors of telcos and other firms to explain why contempt action be not taken against them.

Published: 14th February 2020 04:04 PM  |   Last Updated: 14th February 2020 05:34 PM   |  A+A-

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By Online Desk

NEW DELHI: The telecom department has withdrawn its order that asked for no coercive action against defaulting telcos after the Supreme Court took a strong view of non-compliance of its order on payment of statutory dues by telecom companies. Sources said that the DoT withdrew its order earlier today.

The department's move came after the Supreme Court directed the managing directors and directors of telcos and other firms to explain why contempt action be not taken against them for non-compliance of its order to pay adjusted gross revenue (AGR) of Rs 1.47 lakh crore to the Department of Telecommunications.

Taking strong note of the non-compliance of its order, a bench of Justice Arun Mishra, Justice S Abdul Nazeer and Justice M R Shah expressed anguish over the order passed by DoT's desk officer, staying the effect of its verdict in AGR matter.

ALSO READ: What is AGR and why is it bogging down Vodafone and Airtel?

"We don't know who is creating this nonsense. Is there no law left in the country. It is better not to live in this country and rather leave the country," the bench observed.

"Call the desk officer here! Do you want us to wind up the Supreme Court? We will draw up contempt of court against everyone!" LiveLaw quoted Justice Mishra as saying. 

"A desk officer says coercive action not to be taken until further orders. How can he stay our orders," Justice Mishra said.

"Is there anything left in the judiciary? I am at a loss. I will not bother about myself. I will pass strictures. I am totally at a loss how to work in this system and in this country," he added.

AGR is the basis on which levies like licence fees and spectrum usage charges are calculated. 

On October 24 last year, the apex court had ended a 14-year legal battle between telecom companies and the DoT over what constituted AGR.

Vodafone Idea owes over Rs 50,000 crore to DoT, while Bharti Airtel has to pay Rs 35,586 crore. Tata Teleservices, which sold its mobile services business to Airtel, has dues of Rs 14,000 crore.

Jio is the only company which has cleared its dues of Rs 60 crore.

(With inputs from PTI)

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