The government has moved the Supreme Court, seeking transfer of various petitions filed by telecom companies challenging levy of one-time spectrum charge in different high courts and the sectoral tribunal to the apex court.
The DoT wants to make every effort for expeditious disposal of the matter as it involves government revenue of over Rs 26,000 crore. Various orders issued by DoT and subsequent demands have been stayed by the HCs and TDSAT “causing serious prejudice to the revenue to the tune of thousands of crores,” the transfer petition stated.
According to the government, the telecom companies have filed petitions in different HCs “as a delaying tactic”.
The DoT had issued two orders on December 28, 2012 and March 15, 2013, asking various telecom firms to pay one-time spectrum charge for holding additional spectrum above 4.4 MHz (GSM) and above 2.5 MHz (CDMA) based on market determined price decided in auction. Pursuant to the decision to levy one-time spectrum charges, demands aggregating to Rs 26,195.67 crore (Rs 2,418 crore for CDMA operators, Rs 13,060.09 crore for GSM operators and Rs 10,117.57 crore by PSUs) have been issued to the various telecom service providers.
The department had issued a demand notice of Rs 1,152.68 crore to Tata Tele Ltd, Rs 5,201.24 crore to Bharti Airtel, Rs 3,599.40 crore to Vodafone, Rs 1,882 crore to Idea Cellular, Rs 1,351.51 crore to Aircel, Rs 1157.89 crore to Reliance Communications and Rs 173.47 to Reliance Telecom. Besides, BSNL was asked to pay Rs 6,911.86 crore and MTNL Rs 3,313.15 crore. Rs 606.72 crore was to be paid by BPL, Rs 14.25 crore by Dishnet and Rs 231.50 crore by Spice (old).
While Bharti Airtel, Idea and Tata Teleservices Maharashtra had approached the Bombay High Court, Aircel Cellular, Aircel and Dishnet Wireless had moved the Madras High Court and Reliance Telecom, Tata Tele and Reliance Communication had approached the Calcutta High Court.