Do you want us to wind up SC?: Top court fumes at govt, telcos over non-payment of AGR dues
'We don't know who is creating this nonsense. Is there no law left in the country? It is better not to live in this country and rather leave the country,' the bench observed.
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday directed the managing directors and directors of telcos and other firms to explain why contempt action should not be taken against them for non-compliance of its order to pay adjusted gross revenue (AGR) of Rs 1.47 lakh crore to the Department of Telecommunications.
Taking strong note of the non-compliance of its order, a bench of Justice Arun Mishra, Justice S Abdul Nazeer and Justice M R Shah also expressed anguish over a letter sent by the DoT's desk officer saying no coercive action should be taken against telecom service providers in case they fail to comply with the Supreme Court order.
EXPLAINER: What is AGR and why is it bogging down Vodafone and Airtel?
"We don't know who is creating this nonsense. Is there no law left in the country. It is better not to live in this country and rather leave the country," the bench observed.
"Call the desk officer here! Do you want us to wind up the Supreme Court? We will draw up contempt of court against everyone!" LiveLaw quoted Justice Mishra as saying.
"A desk officer says coercive action not to be taken until further orders. How can he stay our orders," Justice Mishra said.
"Is there anything left in the judiciary? I am at a loss. I will not bother about myself. I will pass strictures. I am totally at a loss how to work in this system and in this country," he added.
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AGR is the basis on which levies like licence fees and spectrum usage charges are calculated.
On October 24 last year, the apex court had ended a 14-year legal battle between telecom companies and the DoT over what constituted AGR.
Vodafone Idea owes over Rs 50,000 crore to DoT, while Bharti Airtel has to pay Rs 35,586 crore. Tata Teleservices, which sold its mobile services business to Airtel, has dues of Rs 14,000 crore.
Jio is the only company which has cleared its dues of Rs 60 crore.
(With inputs from Agencies and Express News Service)