Vodafone Idea (VI) has taken the crucial step of filing a curative petition with the Supreme Court regarding the Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) case. In this petition, the telecom company emphasizes the staggering amount of penalties and interest imposed as a result of the Supreme Court’s 2019 decision, expressing grave doubts about its ability to meet these financial obligations. VI contends that if compelled to pay this substantial sum, the company’s very existence could be at risk.
Understanding VI’s Curative Petition on AGR Case
This curative petition was lodged with the nation’s highest court in September 2023, and it comes at a time when VI is already grappling with significant financial challenges, making its survival an increasingly formidable task. The Supreme Court’s ruling, which bars any rectification of clerical or arithmetic errors in the AGR demand and imposes penalties and interest on this already substantial amount, is viewed by VI as unduly punitive.
Furthermore, VI argues that these two components, the penalties, and the associated interest, far surpass the principal amount in magnitude. It’s essential to note that VI’s petition does not contest the imposition of license fees; rather, it is predicated on the presence of severe jurisdictional errors within the decision itself.
Analyzing Supreme Court’s 2019 Decision on AGR and VI’s Concerns
The grounds for requesting the Supreme Court’s reconsideration are twofold. First, VI takes issue with the decision’s stance that the Department of Telecommunication’s (DoT) demand, regardless of any clerical or arithmetic inaccuracies in the outstanding amount, should be considered final. Essentially, this implies that any mistakes would be irrevocable, and VI would be obligated to fulfill the entire demand.
Secondly, VI’s petition contests the imposition of interest on penalties, asserting that the Supreme Court made this decision based on a flawed assumption. The assumption in question is that VI lacked the authority to make payments while challenging the definitions of gross revenue and AGR in court. VI maintains that there was a genuine dispute in play, and the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) ruled in favor of the company, affirming the legitimacy of its challenge.
VI underscores that imposing penalties and interest at this scale constitutes a severe measure that could imperil the company’s continued operation. The interest rate applied for delayed payment of license fees is so substantial that it functions as a punitive penalty in itself.