November 13, 2019

Vodafone Idea, Airtel All Set To File Review Petitions Before The Supreme Court Urging It To Reconsider Its AGR Ruling

[ By Bobby Anthony ]


Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel are set to file a review petition shortly, which may include seeking a reduction in penalties and interest component of payable dues.

The companies may also question some components of non-core items which the Supreme Court says should be included while computing adjusted gross revenue (AGR) of telecom companies.

However, there are indications that the two telecom service providers are likely to seek only a limited review of the Supreme Court ruling, and won’t challenge the whole order.

They may merely question whether certain specific non-core items could be removed from what has been defined as AGR. They are likely to also seek a waiver or reduction of the interest and penalties as well.

The legal option being exercised is merely one part of a two-pronged strategy of telecom companies. The other part of the strategy is to push the government to grant some financial relief to these companies.

Incidentally, Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel happen to be the worst hit with combined additional dues of over Rs 80,000 crore to the government.

It may be recalled that the telecom industry as a whole faces dues worth over Rs 1.3 lakh crore in licensee fees, spectrum usage charges (SUC), penalties and interest, after the Supreme Court recently backed the government’s stance that non-core items should be included while calculating AGR. Licensee fee and spectrum usage charges are calculated on the basis of AGR.

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