SC to give verdict on Vodafone, Airtel AGR case on July 22

The top court is hearing the plea of telecom companies Airtel, Tata Teleservices, and Vodafone Idea asking for recomputation of AGR dues

The Supreme Court will announce tomorrow, 22 July, its verdict on the plea of telecom companies Airtel, Tata Teleservices, and Vodafone Idea asking for recomputation of AGR dues, according to a report by CNBC TV18.

Vodafone has asked for correction of errors made by the DoT and has cited dues of Rs 1.8 lakh crore to claim that it is about to ‘go under’. Meanwhile, Airtel has also sought corrections in computing of AGR by citing duplication, unaccounted payments, and disallowed deductions. The three telecom companies also want their AGR dues to be paid in a staggered manner.

Vodafone Idea has to pay AGR of greater than Rs 50,000 crore while Airtel is required to pay the pending amount of Rs 43,000 crore.

It may be recalled that these telecom companies have to pay some percentage of their adjusted gross revenue (AGR) to the department of telecommunications (DoT) of the Indian government. The companies and the government have been engaged in a legal battle for several years over the issue with a dispute arising over the definition of AGR. While the central government wants revenue earned from both telecom and non-telecom services to be a part of the AGR, the telecom companies want only the former to be considered for revenue sharing with the government.

The Supreme Court in October 2020 gave the verdict in the favour of the center and ordered all income of telcos except termination and roaming charges to be included as AGR. The order put massive financial pressure on the telcos, prompting the top court to allow them to pay the pending AGR in a staggered manner. The companies need to pay the entire AGR amount to the DoT in a period of ten years beginning from 31 March this year.

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