The Department of Telecom (DoT) on Friday withdrew its order stating that no coercive actions should be taken against telcos for failing to comply with Supreme Court order to pay AGR-related dues with immediate effect. This follows Supreme Court taking a stern view of DoT’s failure to collect AGR dues as per the apex court’s October 24 order.
While withdrawing the order with immediate effect, the new order also directs that “immediate necessary action” is taken to comply with the October 24 order of the Supreme Court that had directed telcos to pay their dues within three months or by January 24.
The Supreme Court on Friday issued notice for contempt against companies, including telecom majors Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea, for not paying a single penny in AGR related dues. A Bench led by Justice Arun Mishra also issued a show cause notice to the DoT on why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against its officers for literally “staying a Supreme Court judgment” by issuing an internal letter on January 23, 2020, which barred authorities from taking any “coercive action” against the companies even if they fail to comply with the Supreme Court judgment.
It its October 24, 2019 judgment had upheld the recovery of past dues amounting to ₹1.47 lakh crore from the telecom companies.
DoT asks telcos to clear dues by midnight
After Supreme Court rap, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has ordered firms such as Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea to clear dues before Friday midnight.
The DoT, which faced the ire of the Supreme Court for putting on hold recovery of dues from telecom companies, started issuing circle or zone-wise demand notices to firms, an order seen by PTI said.
The order asked telcos to clear dues by 11.59 pm Friday.
(With PTI inputs)