New Delhi: The Supreme Court Thursday dismissed review petitions filed by top telecom firms seeking a review of its earlier order asking them to pay past statutory dues amounting to Rs 1.47 lakh crore by January 23.
That figure, counting all telecom firms together, amounted to a staggering Rs. 1.47 lakh crore. Severally, dues owed by individual firms are as under:
Airtel: Rs 21,682.13 crore
Vodafone: Rs 19,823.71 crore
Reliance Communications: Rs 16,456.47 crore
BSNL: Rs 2,098.72 crore
MTNL: Rs 2,537.48 crore.
The three-judge bench -- Justices Arun Mishra, S A Nazeer and M R Shah – said during the in-chamber hearing that they found no merit in the review plea and dismissed it.
The telecom companies had sought an open-court hearing but the Supreme Court decided to stick to its convention of having an in-chamber hearing.
The bench ruling reads, “Applications for hearing in open court/oral hearing are rejected. Having perused the review petitions and the connected papers with meticulous care, we do not find any justifiable reason to entertain the review petitions. The review petitions are, accordingly, dismissed."
The apex court had on October 24 ruled that calculation of statutory dues must include non-telecom revenues in what is known as adjusted gross revenues (AGR). This was a definition of AGR formulated by the Department of Telecom (DoT).
The telecom companies have no room to appeal to the government. Backc in November, telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told Parliament the telecom companies owed the government Rs 1.47 lakh crore in past statutory dues.
This includes Rs 92,642 crore in the form of unpaid licence fee, and Rs 55,054 crore in outstanding spectrum usage charges.
He added that there was no proposal to waive interest and penalties on such dues.
The Supreme Court ruling of Oct. 24 made it clear that there would be no further litigation on the issue. In the same vein, the judges on Thursday the petitioners’ appeals frivolous....