The Department of Telecom may seek legal opinion regarding filing a plea seeking transfer of writ petitions filed by mobile operators challenging levy of one-time spectrum charge in various high courts and TDSAT to the Supreme Court. Also Read - Let our firms take part in 5G trials, China tells India
The DoT had issued orders regarding charging of one-time spectrum charge on December 28, 2012 and March 15, 2013 to various operators, including Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular, RCom, Aircel, BSNL, MTNL and Tata Teleservices. The Department of Telecom (DoT) had issued a demand of Rs 5,201.24 crore for Bharti Airtel, Rs 3,599.40 crore for Vodafone, Rs 1,882 crore for Idea Cellular, Rs 1,351.51 crore for Aircel, Rs 305.11 crore for Reliance Communications and Rs 173.47 for Reliance Telecom. The Department had also issued demand of Rs 6,911.86 crore for BSNL, Rs 3,205.71 crore for MTNL, Rs 232.29 crore for Tata Teleservices and Rs 606.72 crore for BPL. Also Read - DoT permits telecom service providers to go ahead with 5G trials
According to sources, DoT is of the view that nothing has moved since interim stay granted by high courts and the matters are pending before the various high courts as a “regular matter”. The sources added that as the matter involved government revenue to the tune of thousands of crores of rupees and every effort needs to be made for speedily disposal of the pending petitions in order to avoid huge loss to the public exchequer. “As telecom service providers had filed writ petitions at various high courts, there may be possibility for pronouncement of conflicting judgements,” the source said Also Read - Coronavirus: Telecom operators urge DoT to offer free access to critical sites
Airtel, Idea, Tata Teleservices and RCom had approached the Bombay High Court, Aircel the Madras High Court and Reliance Telecom the Calcutta High Court. Vodafone and Loop Mobile had challenged the DoT order in TSDAT. “In view of the facts and circumstances, it is proposed that we may request to Ministry of Law and Justice, Department of Legal Affairs for seeking legal opinion regarding transfer of writ petitions/petitions filed by telecom service providers from various High Courts/TDSAT to Supreme Court,” the source said.