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New Delhi, June 18, 2020
The Centre on Thursday informed the Supreme Court it is willing to withdraw 96 per cent of the Rs 4 Lakh crore dues pending against various PSUs in the adjusted gross revenue (AGR) matter.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, told a bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra that the Centre is withdrawing 96 per cent of the AGR dues demanded from the PSUs.
Mehta filed an affidavit in the apex court explaining why AGR dues were raised against the PSUs and contended before the court that 96 per cent of Rs 4 Lakh crore bill was withdrawn.
The top court noted that PSUs haven't been in the business of providing telecom services.
Last week the apex court had pulled up the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) for raising a demand of Rs 4 lakh crore from various PSUs in the garb of its last year judgement on adjusted gross revenue (AGR) matter and threatened to begin contempt proceedings against the officers concerned.
The apex court had said its judgement was silent on public sector companies, and told the Solicitor General that telecom dues demands against PSUs must be withdrawn.
Mehta argued that PSUs held the telecom spectrum.
The bench again asked Mehta how the government could use its judgement on AGR to devise a formula to raise demand from various PSUs, when the judgement did not deal with the issue.
The bench asked why no demands were made for many years and the issue had come up after the AGR judgement in October 2019.
The bench asked Mehta whether he had advised the government to withdraw demands against PSUs.
"Demands raised against PSU wholly impermissible," added the bench.
Mehta replied that PSUs form a class in themselves, representing public functions, and they discharge government functions, but are different from the private sector.