Telecom companies to pay Rs 92,000 crore dues to government as Supreme Court rejects plea for review

New Delhi: In a major setback for mobile service providers, the Supreme Court on Thursday rejected telecom companies’ plea seeking a review of its earlier order that allowed the government to collect dues worth Rs 92,000 crore from them. “Applications for hearing in open court/oral hearing are rejected. Having perused the review petitions and the connected papers with meticulous care, we do not find any justifiable reason to entertain the review petitions. The review petitions are, accordingly, dismissed,” the Supreme Court said.
Telecom companies – including Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea – had moved a review petition in Supreme Court after the top court last year allowed the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to collect the bulk of dues from them, giving the mobile operators three months to comply with the order.
Thursday’s development comes amid cut-throat competition in the country’s telecom sector, with companies reeling under debt worth thousands of crores.
In October, the Supreme Court had upheld the telecom department’s demand that wireless carriers pay Rs 92,000 crore in overdue levies and interest.
The Supreme Court had given telecom operators three months’ time to clear their dues with the telecom department.
The telecom department has claimed dues of around Rs 92,000 crore as license fee and Rs 41,000 crore as spectrum usage fee from Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Reliance Communications (RCom).