In the recent hearing on adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues, the Supreme Court (SC) has reserved its orders on the plea of telecom operators including Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea, and Tata Teleservices, seeking rectification of arithmetical errors in the calculation of their AGR dues.
Further, the apex court added that its earlier order on the matter has ruled out any recomputation of the dues.
The operators told the court that rectification is different from reassessment or recalculation of AGR dues. However, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) was hesitant to revise its raised demand or rectify errors unless allowed by the apex court. As per Airtel, the excess demand due to these errors was to the tune of Rs 59.32 billion of principal amount, which would have an overall impact of over four times on the total principal amount due to imposition of interest, penalty and interest on penalty. Further, it told the court that the company was fully compliant with the order and had paid over 10 per cent of its pending AGR dues of over Rs 180 billion. Submitting that its payments and deductions not considered by the DoT were purely by oversight, the company made it clear that it can’t be asked to pay the amount again due to errors. Meanwhile, Vodafone Idea also said it was not seeking any reassessment of the calculations, but only seeking correction in these arithmetical errors. Further, terming rectification as a matter of right in any assessment or reassessment, Tata Teleservices said the judgment only prohibited reassessment and not rectification of calculative errors.
However, solicitor general Tushar Mehta informed the SC that he had not received any instructions from the DoT on claims of arithmetic errors in AGR calculations.