New Delhi: We don't know who is creating this nonsense, is there no law left in the country? It is better not to live here and rather leave the country!’’
The strong remarks resonated in the Supreme Court on Friday when an angry three judge bench commented on the blatant defiance of its order directing telecom companies to pay adjusted gross revenue (AGR) of Rs 1.47 lakh crore to the Department of Telecommunication.
What provoked the Bench of Justices Arun Mishra, S Abdul Nazeer and M R Shah was the order of an ordinary desk officer of the department of telecom staying the operation of the Apex Court verdict in the AGR matter.
The distressed justices also issued a contempt notice to the concerned officer. Clearly exasperated at the temerity of the desk officer who rode roughshod over the top court's order, the Bench directed the government to withdraw the communication by the end of the day.
The court also took strong offence to the DoT desk officer writing to the Attorney General and other constitutional authorities that they should not insist on payment of money by the telecom companies and ensure that no coercive action is taken against them.
The Supreme Court was possibly angry at what it perceives to be some sort of collusion between the telecom service providers and DoT, since it had already rejected their plea for reconsideration of its October order on January 16.
The court has now directed the managing directors of all telecom companies to be present in the court on the next date of hearing and explain why contempt action be not taken against them for non-compliance of its order to pay the AGR to DoT. Taking strong note of the non-compliance of its order, the Bench said:
"We don't know who is creating this nonsense."The telecoms dues have mounted since they have not paid AGR to the government for the past 20 years. The amount due from them is on account of payment of around 3% of the AGR as spectrum charge and another 8% as licence fee.
In its October 24 order, the court had held that except for termination fee and roaming charges, all revenues coming to the telecom companies would be counted in the adjusted gross revenue (AGR).