The Supreme Court has reportedly requested the government to submit an affidavit regarding the spectrum usage charges (SUCs), which are to be paid by Bharti Airtel. The court asked for an affidavit by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), stating that Airtel is required to pay lower SUCs compared to the new players who acquired airwaves through the 2016 auction.
The hearing of DoT’s appeal was led by Justice Sanjiv Khanna, who instructed additional solicitor general Vikramjit Banerjee to file an affidavit on behalf of DoT. The affidavit is to affirm under oath that as per the sectoral tribunal’s order, Airtel will be liable to pay lower SUCs in comparison to the new players who were allotted the spectrum under the 2016 telecom policy and auction.
The SC also asked DoT to provide a chart showcasing the revenue difference between the 2010 and 2016 auctions. This will shed light on the financial disparities arising from the spectrum allocation process. The DoT had earlier challenged the ruling of the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal, which had rejected the DoT’s office order dating August 2016, which was related to SUCs for different spectrum bands.