Taking strong note of non-compliance of its order asking telecom firms to pay adjusted gross revenue of Rs 1.47 lakh crore to the Department of Telecom by January 23, the Supreme Court has directed telecom providers to deposit their dues by March 17. The apex court also pulled up the telecoms and the Department of Telecom for not complying with the SC deadline passed in the October 24 judgment.
The order was passed by a bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra, Abdul Nazeer and M.R. Shah who were hearing a batch of fresh petitions filed by telecom companies, including Bharti Airtel, Vodafone-Idea and Tata Teleservices, seeking more time for payment of AGR dues.
Not pleased with the fresh petitions, the bench directed the managing directors and directors of the telcoms and other firms to explain why contempt action be not taken against them for non-compliance of order. ""What is happening in this country ? All these companies haven't even paid a single penny and your officer has the audacity to stay the order ? Does the Supreme Court have no value? This is the outcome of money power. The Managing Directors and CMD of telecos have to personally appear on the next date if the dues are not cleared before it," Justice Mishra said.
The apex court also expressed anguish over the order passed by DoT's desk officer staying effect its verdict on the adjusted gross revenue matter. "Call that desk officer here! Have taken any action against him? Do you want us to wind up the Supreme Court? Who is doing this? We will draw up contempt against everyone," the bench said, adding a contempt notice has also been issued to the DoT officer.