The Supreme Court on Monday reserved its order on the timeline for the payment of Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) dues by telecom companies and slated the next hearing in the matter on August 10.
After the telecom companies sought 15 to 20 years of time to pay back the remaining AGR dues in a staggered manner, a three-judge bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra observed that the request was unreasonable.
Mohan Parasaran, one of the lawyers for Tata, pleaded to pay the amount over a period of 15-20 years. Justice MR Shah, another judge on the bench, said it is unreasonable.
"Please tell us a reasonable time frame. 15-20 years is not the answer. Be reasonable and one type of security can be there. Our country's revenue should be secured. You all have to be reasonable with your prayers. You are virtually dragging us to a corner," Justice Shah observed.
Mukul Rohatgi, with folded hands, prayed before the apex court to grant 15 years' time to pay the rest of the amount. Abhishek Manu Singhvi also said that Bharti Airtel will also pay the rest of the amount over a period of 15 years.
The top court, which was hearing a plea seeking staggered payment of AGR dues, also pulled up Vodafone Idea over the same and warned the telecom company of strict actions against it on non-compliance of its orders.
Senior lawyer Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Vodafone Idea, submitted that it has filed balance sheets and tax details of a decade, after which the bench asked him how can the apex court rely on the company to pay the AGR dues if it has been running in losses for decades.
"I said, humbly that the Supreme Court order should be honoured. If the verdict can't be honoured in one stroke, it should be in parts," Rohatgi said.
Justice Mishra, responding to Rohatgi, said, "If you won't comply with our orders, we will strictly take action against you. This is a very serious matter. We may send directly to jail who is doing wrong things from here."
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