AGR Case: Govt should cancel licences if dues not paid, says Supreme Court

Photo: PTI

In case telecom companies are not willing to pay their AGR dues to the government, the Supreme Court stated it may direct the “cancellation of spectrum allocation.”

During hearing on the AGR (Adjusted Gross Revenue) issue, the apex court bench also said the central government must cancel the spectrum licenses of telecom service providers if it feared that the AGR-related dues may be wiped off under the ongoing IBC process.

The bench, comprising Justices Arun Mishra, S Abdul Nazeer and M R Shah, observed that spectrum-trading guidelines stated that sellers must clear any pending dues before the sale. If they do not clear the dues, they get transferred to the buyer.

Telecom companies cannot expect to clear their dues by acquiring someone else’s property without any attached liability, the bench said.

However, the bench reserved its verdict on whether spectrum rights can be sold by telecom companies facing bankruptcy proceedings.

The top court will also decide whether there are any additional liabilities on Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel, which have spectrum-sharing agreements with RCom (Reliance Communications), Videocon and Aircel.