New Delhi: The Supreme Court’s judgment against a Trai order on telecom companies compensating consumers for call drops is not an isolated event of telecom operators petitioning courts to stall government orders.
According to some estimates, around Rs 44,000 crore, which the telecom operators owe to the government, are under litigation in various courts of the country.
Nearly 700 cases are pending in courts, involving spectrum usage charges, licence fee and electromagnetic radiation violation penalty among others.
The highest number of cases — 461 — filed in the courts are related to license fee, which blocked Rs 19,600 crore of revenue. The second highest amount under litigation involve spectrum usage charges. Some 15 cases have held up the recovery of Rs 16,773 crore.
Litigation involving penalties on electromagnetic radiation violations are over Rs 7,000 crore. The other litigations involve customer application form fine and mobile number portability testing fee.
The total amount due from the telecom operators is around Rs 54,828 crore out of which under litigation is Rs 44,000 crore. India’s largest telecom operator Bharti Airtel owes the government Rs 11,235 crore out of which Rs 6,346 crore is regarding spectrum charges arrears, Rs 3,219 crore on licences fee arrears and Rs 1,593 crore on electromagnetic radiation penalty arrears.
State-run BSNL owes government Rs 9,936 crore out of which Rs 7,763 crore is on spectrum usage charges and Rs 1,515 on electromagnetic penalty arrears.
Vodafone India owes the governments around Rs 9,206 crore out of which Rs 4,718 crore is for spectrum charges and `975 crore on electromagnetic arrears.
Idea Cellular owes government Rs 5,435 crore, Reliance Communications Rs 6,355 crore and Tata Teleservices owes Rs 3,472 crore.
Meanwhile, the issue of pending spectrum char-ges has emerged a bone of contention in the ongoing spectrum trading deals between the companies.
The telecom department has said that seller need to comply with in respect of pending one-time spectrum charges (OSTC) and spectrum usage charges under litigation at the time of applying for spectrum trading.
The telecom department at present takes bank guarantee equal to an amount of OSTC and SUC dues — which are under litigation and stayed by the court of law — will be submitted by the buyer or seller to secure the interest of the licensor....