Info-tech

Shouldn’t Jio pay RCom’s AGR dues, SC asks Centre again

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on August 17, 2020 Published on August 17, 2020

The Supreme Court on Monday again sought to know the government's position on making Reliance Jio liable for Reliance Communications’ adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues on account of the former using the spectrum shared by the latter.

On Friday, the SC had asked the Centre if Jio can be held liable for AGR and other dues of RCom, as Jio has been earning revenue by using RCom’s assets (800 MHz band) under an asset-sharing agreement.

No legal basis

Jio, in a written submission on Monday, told the SC that there is no legal basis for transferring bankrupt RCom’s dues, AGR or otherwise, to Jio as the two telecom operators in a spectrum-sharing agreement do not share liabilities. Meanwhile, on Aircel-Airtel sharing of spectrum, senior counsel Kapil Sibal told the Bench that the issue was wholly outside the AGR purview.

The Bench, comprising Justices Arun Mishra, S Abdul Nazeer and MR Shah, has fixed the next date of hearing on Wednesday (August 19).

The apex court said it would delve into the issue of initiation of insolvency proceedings against various telecom companies vis-a-vis their outstanding liabilities.

On July 20, the SC had reserved its order on the timeline of payment of AGR dues to be paid by these telcos. That day the DoT stuck to allowing a period of 20 years for staggered payment of AGR dues by the telcos, which was different from the demand of a 15-year window requested by the telcos.

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Published on August 17, 2020
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