Supreme Court: In a major turnaround in the AGR case, with respect to Public Sector Undertakings, the Department of Telecommunication has decided to withdraw the demands which constitute 96% of the of the ?4 lakh crore demand. However, with respect to 4% other Public Sector Undertakings, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the bench of Arun Mishra, SA Nazeer and MR Shah, JJ that “the final decision shall be taken before the next date of hearing and placed on record.”
The decision came after the Court pulled up the Government for misusing it’s 2019 verdict and had said that the said verdict only applied to AGR dues owed by the telecom companies and not to PSUs.
In today’s order, the Court directed the telecom operators to file audited Balance Sheets, for the last 10 years including for the Calendar year ending 31.3.2020 as well as the Income Tax Returns and the particulars of AGR deposited during the last 10 years. It also requested to make payments of reasonable amount also to show their bonafides, before the next date of hearing.
The matter is scheduled to be taken up in the 3rd week of July.
Last year, in Union of India v. Association of Unified Telecom Service Providers of India, 2019 SCC OnLine SC 1393, where it had refused to change the definition of gross revenue as defined in clause 19.1 of the licence agreement granted by the Government of India to the Telecom Service Providers and had said,
“The definition of revenue has been taken in a broad, comprehensive, and inclusive manner to pose fewer problems of interpretation, and exclusion of certain items was avoided.”
[In re Mandar Deshpande, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 518 , order dated 18.06.2020]