The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has moved the Supreme Court against the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal’s (TDSAT) decision that mandated it to clear the merger deal between Bharti Airtel and Tata Teleservices Limited’s (TTSL) consumer mobility business.

In its appeal to the apex court, DoT has sought dues worth over Rs 80 billion on account of one-time spectrum charges (OTSC) and stated that the demand was based on the licence conditions.

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the matter on November 15, 2019.

Earlier, in May 2019, the TDSAT had partially stayed DoT’s demand for about Rs 83 billion in bank guarantees as OTSC, citing similar orders in telecom sector merger cases by various courts, including the Bombay High Court.

The tribunal had asked DoT to take on record the merger of Bharti Airtel and Bharti Hexacom with de-merged undertaking of TTSL. It had also asked Airtel to submit half of the Rs 12.88 billion demand raised by DoT as OTSC for the Chennai circle licence extension from November 30, 2014 to September 27, 2021 within four weeks. It also allowed the merging companies to ‘operationalise the spectrum and undertake other consequential activities’.