NEW DELHI: The Centre on Tuesday told Supreme Court it is “reviewing and reconsidering” its decision pertaining to one-time spectrum charges involving Rs 40,000 crore in order to bail out the telecommunication sector.
Appearing before a bench of Justices M R Shah and A S Bopanna, solicitor general Tushar Mehta said that department of telecommunication is reconsidering its decision to proceed with an appeal filed against a tribunal order on the issue of recovery of one-time spectrum user charges from companies and sought three weeks to take a final call. He said the government may not press for hearing the appeal challenging the TDSAT order of 2019 passed in favour of telecom companies.
While adjourning the case, the court, which has not been receptive to such suggestions in the past, said that any decision taken by the Centre will be tested by it on the touchstone of public interest as thousands of crores of public money is involved. “We have to consider the larger public interest,” the bench said.
The Centre recently announced measures for the stressed sector such as relief on computing dues relating to AGR and adjusted gross revenue. A four-year moratorium on dues, the Centre having leeway to convert dues into equity post moratorium period and easier foreign investment rules are some of the key features of the prospective package.
Seeking more relief for the sector, the Centre said, “It is required to be pointed out that the telecom sector is passing through financial stress since some time due to various circumstances . It is respectfully submitted that despite certain measures taken by the government in public interest, most of the TSPs, providing for mobile phones and broadband, have been making losses.